Trying to wrap one’s arms around China today is a significant challenge. It is a global power with a growing economy, rising military, and expanding diplomatic reach. Yet there continues to be a gnawing sense in and outside China that all is not quite right. Whether it is the 180,000 protests annually, the growing flight of capital and people to the West, or the potentially ruinous impact of corruption on the Communist Party’s legitimacy, uncertainty about China and its future is much greater than the country’s impressive global standing might suggest.
In the face of such uncertainty, what we need most is to understand better—issue by issue—what is happening on the ground in the country; and a terrific new book Governing Health in Contemporary China by my CFR colleague and renowned public health expert Huang Yanzhong provides precisely that kind of insight. It details Beijing’s efforts to tackle one critical and politically explosive issue—health care—and helps us understand where and why the country has succeeded and failed, and what more needs to be done.