During three decades of favourable global economic conditions, China created an integrated global production system unprecedented in scale and complexity.
But now its policy makers must deal with the triple challenges of the unfolding European debt crisis, slow recovery in the United States and a secular growth slowdown in China's economy.
All three challenges are interconnected, and mistakes by any of the parties could plunge the global economy into another recession.
To assess the risks and options for China and the world, one must understand China's "Made in the World" production system, which rests on four distinct but mutually dependent pillars.
Image: Workers repair the roof of the Tiananmen Gate at the entrance to the Forbidden City, near the giant portrait of China's late Chairman Mao Zedong, in Beijing on August 20, 2012.
Text: Andrew Sheng and Geng Xiao, Business Standard
AP and Reuters Images