“The wheels are coming off China,” began Gordon Chang ’76. Presented by the Clarke Business Law Institute and the Business Law Society, Chang’s lecture of April 19 expounded “The Three Most Important Trends in China.”
A Forbes.com columnist and author of The Coming Collapse of China (Random House 2001), Chang has lived and worked in China and Hong Kong for almost two decades, most recently in Shanghai as counsel to the American law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN and MSNBC, and his writings on China have been published in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Far Eastern Economic Review, International Herald Tribune, Weekly Standard, and The South China Morning Post.
Chang was introduced by Raymond Minella ’74, Executive Director of the Clarke Business Law Institute, who first met him when both were students at Cornell. His fellow alum, observed Minella, “is now a really famous guy.”
In his lecture, Chang forecasted trouble for China’s Communist party as it faces the trends of a faltering economy and a fracturing government increasingly under the sway of military leaders. On the topic of China’s shrinking workforce, a result of the country’s one-child rule, he asserted, “If you’re thinking this is a Chinese Century, think again.” Ending optimistically, however, Chang observed a third trend: growing insistence upon rights and justice among Chinese citizens. “Today the Chinese people believe in the rule of the law,” he concluded, “I believe that one day, the Chinese people will govern their own country.”
The Clarke Business Law Institute, created by a gift from Jack G. Clarke, LL.B. ’52, provides a venue for Cornell students to learn from nationally recognized academics, senior lawyers, regulators, and business leaders.