Embracing uncertainty compromises the effectiveness of all of the most commonly used forecasting methods. The methods for forecasting China's future have been problematical, and the results of their actual employment by experts to forecast specific major issues have been even more so. Many of the more extreme pessimistic or optimistic scenarios would require a rare combination of uniformly negative or uniformly positive influences. Powerful influences are at play that is exacerbated on all sides by historical narratives, nationalism, exceptionalism, territorial disputes, military expansion, and perceptions of relative power. In a positive future China might permit the steady growth of political liberalisation at a pace consistent with internal stability, accept fully the imperative of sustainable environmental development and act with courage and determination to accelerate the emergence of a low carbon economy. It contains excessively nationalist influences to rededicate itself to a strategy centred on peaceful development and harmonious international relationships.