Countries with a high pace of economic development have continuously attracted a significant amount of attention from academics, business practitioners and policy-makers. This interest can be traced to a number of opportunities that stem from the level of economic development in both academic and business terms. Over the recent decades, the level of China economic development has surpassed any other economy in the world. Moreover, given the size of the country and its international role, the rise of China is widely acknowledged as the most important aspect of the 21st century in global economy (Kristof, 1993; Callahan, 2005).
Despite the growing interest of the academics, the existing body of literature on the rise of China is highly fragmented and often contradictory in nature. The general consensus acknowledges the importance of this issue and its impact on the global economy, however, a myriad of distinct perspectives and scenarios regarding the particular implications are highlighted in the existing body of literature review. Example can be made of the study conducted by Goodhart and Xu (1996) which pointed out the ChinaÊ¼s ability to overcome a number of economic growth issues, such as loss-making state enterprises, decreasing fiscal revenues and inflation and the contradictory arguments presented by Shambaugh (1994). Moreover, while the rise of China is often portrayed in both academic and popular press as the key issue nowadays, Segal (1998) and consequently Shirk (2007) pointed out the fragile nature of this country which contradicts the notion of the ChinaÊ¼s superior power depicted in the academic debate.
Alternative interpretations regarding the rise of China have emerged and emphasise the hyperbolic nature of the mainstream research (e.g. Callahan, 2005; Bardhan, 2006; Lai, 2010). Bardhan (2006) recognised that structural and institutional problems persisting in China will affect its developmental path. Similar conclusions have been previously drawn by Shambaugh (1994) who suggested that the economic growth cannot be sustained without the underlying social and political changes which have not been introduced in China. The problems in this country have been demonstrated by the outbreaks of public discontent. The model of development pursued by China is thus highly imbalanced in terms of economic and political growth (Lai, 2010). The presented paper builds on the conflicting theories depicted in the existing body of literature on the rise of China and aims to critically examine the underlying issues.(责任编辑：BUG)