Beijing wants to create a greener and more modern economy without losing its grip on society—but that leaves officials in a bind, Thomas L. Friedman writes in the New York Times. A green, knowledge-based economy requires personal freedoms that China may be unwilling to provide. But it must act, writes Friedman, for the oil that fueled China's boom is now pricey and its labor force is no longer Asia's cheapest.
"The problem for the ruling Communist Party is this," Friedman writes. “China can’t have a greener society without empowering citizens to become watchdogs and allowing them to sue local businesses and governments that pollute, and it can’t have a more knowledge-intensive innovation society without a freer flow of information and experimentation."