China represents an uncomfortable thorn in U.S. efforts to promote democracy around the world. While some projects have been successful, a large gap exists between the increasing U.S. funding in China and its “limited impact.” Moreover, U.S. democracy promotion in China has contributed to strategic distrust between China and the United States; Beijing perceives it as a strategic move to destabilize the rise of China and sabotage the Communist Party's leadership. At the same time, China's growing power while maintaining one-party rule and rejecting democratic change generates fear and distrust among many Americans.
The scholarship on U.S. democracy promotion is largely and understandably dominated by U.S. scholars with U.S. perspectives. Chinese officials’ and scholars’ responses and perspectives are, however, often overlooked, particularly by democracy-promotion professionals, and are largely omitted from literature on the subject. This paper attempts to understand how the complex and multilayered U.S. democracy-promotion program in China has contributed to this strategic distrust. It examines China's responses to U.S. democracy promotion and explains the confrontational dynamic between Washington and Beijing. The paper also explores whether and how Beijing and Washington can create mutual trust rather than suspicions. Some skeptics may consider this naïve, but on historical and political grounds it is actually a realistic possibility
Field of Research
160699 Political Science not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective
940299 Government and Politics not elsewhere classified