While neither Beijing nor Washington want to see North Korea's belligerence explode into actual conflict, Beijing is not willing to push Pyongyang too hard for fear of toppling the regime.
North Korea is unlikely to act erratically following the death of Kim Jong-il. All eyes are on heir Kim Jong-un, whose youth and inexperience mean elder statesmen are likely to guide the transition.
Economic geography has created two Chinas: the prosperous coast and the undeveloped interior. China's future depends on whether it can reconcile this gap between the haves and have-nots. The city-province of Chongqing provides a model for equitable urbanization.
Opposition to the Chinese Communist Party’s rule is actually coming from the left, with cries that the party has forgotten the masses and coddled the elite. Can the party co-opt this nationalist fervor to remake itself – and all of political science?
China's politically-stifled intelligentsia has painted the recent train accident as a symbol of the Communist Party's failings, warning against the perils of rapid economic growth. But these Internet-wielding elite are venting personal frustration, not voicing the will of the Chinese people.