In addition to the substantive aspects of researching and understanding contemporary China, this volume also reveals that the professional world of the China specialist has changed. In large part, China watching has changed because China itself has (dramatically) changed. As China looms ever larger in world affairs, the demand for information and informed analysis about it rises correspondingly. China watching and China watchers have also been affected by developments in domestic and international politics, technological developments, research methodologies, funding for research, and other factors. China watchers thus operate today in a complex professional environment. China scholars have long been the main repository of expertise on China. But, in the early twenty-fi rst century, the professional environment has become more competitive, the object of study (China) has become infi nitely more complex, and consumers of their products have become more multiple and discerning.