Term of Award

Fall 2008

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social Sciences (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Emilia Powell

Committee Member 1

Krista Wiegand

Committee Member 2

Richard Pacelle


This paper examines the political, social and economic realities of Chinas rise in an effort to better understand the potential evolution of Sino-American relations. Engagement reasons a prosperous China will become democratic and socially pluralistic, but by observing the development of freedom and rule of law in China and comparing their relationship with economic growth, trade and investment, this analysis challenges the idea that China will have to democratize to meet the pressures of globalization. Economic growth has legitimatized the authoritarian regime in China, freedom is not related to decisions of trade and investment, and the Chinese people have not grown closer to America as their ties to the outside world have strengthened. China has changed, not in the direction American foreign policy desires or international relations theories predict. My findings confirm Chinas rise is uncertain and belief in the inevitability of democracy or war neglects historical and empirical data.

Research Data and Supplementary Material


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