Democratization would upgrade China’s political power and credibility in the international community. The United States and the European Union would forego the leverage of confronting China about its policies, as China’s laws would be the result of a popularly elected government.

New problems, which could destabilize democracy, might appear. For example, would Tibet and Xinjiang attempt to breakaway? How would privatization of state firms and redistribution of land proceed? What would North Korea do in the midst of losing its only ally? If Chinese democracy could not meet growth rates of authoritarian China, how would the Chinese public react?

Like Western-style democracies, a democratic China may repudiate its non-interventionist doctrine and be more assertive in pursuit of its interests. How would the United States react to a Chinese “coalition of the willing”? Democratic or not, China would still depend on a growing amount of natural resources and territorial disputes in the South China Sea would continue to disrupt regional security.