China's Precarious Balance: Cohesiveness and Stability in a Fast-Changing Society [open pdf - 175KB]
Concerns about China's political and social stability figure prominently in Western governments' formulation of policy toward Beijing. Unlike a strong, stable, but less-than-friendly China, an unstable (and presumably weak) China presents a different set of strategic and political challenges to Western policymakers. Instability makes it difficult to protect some of the important interests that have been pursued by the West during the last two decades (such as improvements in human rights, governance, and access to the Chinese market). Internally, political instability usually triggers large-scale violence and loss of government authority. In the case of China, which has a large arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, a likely fallout from such instability would be ineffective control regimes over the exports of such weapons and related technologies.
Asian Perspectives on the Challenges of China: Papers from the Asia-Pacific Symposium, March 7 and 8, 2000, p.49-56