Alice L. Miller

Research Fellow
Biography: 

Alice Lyman Miller is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and visiting associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Stanford. She is also a senior lecturer in the Department of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Miller first joined the Hoover Institution in 1999 as a visiting fellow. Prior to coming to Stanford, Miller taught at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. From 1980–90, she was a professorial lecturer in Chinese history and politics at SAIS. From 1990–2000, she was associate professor of China Studies and, for most of that period, director of the China Studies Program at SAIS. She also held a joint appointment as adjunct associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins from 1996–99, and as adjunct lecturer in the Department of Government, Georgetown University from 1996–98. From 1974–90, Miller worked in the Central Intelligence Agency as a senior analyst in Chinese foreign policy and domestic politics, and branch and division chief, supervising analysis on China, North Korea, Indochina, and Soviet policy in East Asia. Miller has lived and worked in Taiwan, Japan, and the PRC, and she speaks Mandarin Chinese.

Miller's research focuses on foreign policy and domestic politics issues in China and on the international relations of East Asia. She is currently working as editor and contributor to the China Leadership Monitor, which, now in its fifth year, offers authoritative assessments of trends in Chinese leadership politics and policy to American policymakers and the general public. Additionally, she is working on two books. One, co-authored with SAIS Professor Richard Wich, surveys the international relation of Asia during the Cold War. The second, tentatively entitled The Evolution of Chinese Grand Strategy, 1550–Present, brings a historical perspective to bear on China's rising power in the contemporary international order.

Miller has published extensively on policy issues dealing with China, including several in the Hoover Digest. Others include "The Foreign Policy Outlook of China's Third Generation' Elite, with Liu Xiaohong, in The Making of Chinese Foreign and Security Policy in the Era of Reform (David M. Lampton, ed., University of California Press, 2001), "The Late Imperial State," in festschrift for Franz Michael, The Modern Chinese State (David Shambaugh, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2000), and "Is China Unstable?" in Is China Unstable? (David Shambaugh, ed., M.E. Sharpe, 2000). She is the author of Science and Dissent in Post-Mao China: The Politics of Knowledge (University of Washington Press, 1996).

Miller won the Distinguished Teaching Award at Johns Hopkins University in 1994–95. Miller has been interviewed on Voice of America, National Public Radio, CNN, and in Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, as well as press from Japan, Taiwan, and the People's Republic of China.

Miller graduated from Princeton University in 1966, receiving a B.A. in Oriental Studies. She earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in history from George Washington University in 1969 and 1974. Formerly H. Lyman Miller, she transitioned in 2006.

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Recent Commentary

Party Affairs

More Already on the Central Committee’s Leading Small Groups

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 28, 2014

The Xi Jinping leadership has substantially revised the array of top-level leading small groups that prevailed under the Hu Jintao leadership.  In doing so the Xi leadership has unveiled aspects of the groups’ role in the policymaking and policy implementation, their leadership, and their varieties in the broader political order.  Although much about these informal groups remains obscure, the steps toward transparency shed new light on the leadership’s policy processes.

Party Affairs

How Strong Is Xi Jinping?

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, March 13, 2014

Assessments of the political strength of Xi Jinping have varied widely over the year since he became China’s new top leader. This article addresses the question of Xi’s power in light of the results of the 18th Central Committee’s Third Plenum in November 2014 and of other recent trends.

Party Affairs

The Road to the Third Plenum

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, October 7, 2013

Since the 18th Party Congress, the Xi leadership has launched two carefully orchestrated, interrelated campaigns to demonstrate its seriousness about eradicating corruption and to improve public support for the regime. The twin campaigns appear aimed at paving the way to economic and government reforms at the 18th Central Committee’s upcoming Third Plenum that Chinese media promise will be substantial.

Party Affairs

The Work System of the Xi Jinping Leadership

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, June 6, 2013

Appointments to PRC government posts at the 12th National People’s Congress in March 2013 completed the generational leadership transition that began at last fall’s 18th Party Congress. Analysis of the division of policy responsibilities among the new leadership provides insight into the structure and processes of policy-making under the new party general secretary, Xi Jinping.

Party Affairs

The New Party Politburo Leadership

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, January 14, 2013

The processes of generational turnover of China’s leadership at the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th National Congress extended patterns of formal politics that trace their roots to Deng Xiaoping’s political reforms of the 1980s, that advanced in the Jiang Zemin era in the 1990s, and that matured under outgoing General Secretary Hu Jintao in the 2000s. As such, the transition in the party leadership at the 18th Congress marked another step forward in the institutionalization of Chinese leadership politics.

Party Affairs

A Pre-Congress Miscellany

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, October 1, 2012

Beijing has begun setting the stage for the 18th Party Congress, which is expected to see the largest turnover in the top leadership since the sweeping generational transition a decade ago. This article offers several observations on leadership politics and processes heading into the congress. Taken separately, the meaning of these observations is not clear. But taken together, they intimate a troubled and likely contention-ridden push to convene the party congress.

Featured Commentary

The Meaning of Bo Xilai

by Alice L. Millervia Wall Street Journal
Thursday, August 9, 2012

The murder trial on Thursday of Gu Kailai, the wife of former Chongqing boss Bo Xilai, is certainly a spectacular and rare case of Chinese elite politics playing out in public. But it is hardly unprecedented. The unfolding drama surrounding of Mr.

Party Affairs

The Bo Xilai Affair in Central Leadership Politics

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, August 6, 2012

From a procedural perspective, the removal of Bo Xilai from Chongqing and from the party Politburo resembles the 2006 purge of Shanghai party boss Chen Liangyu and the 1995 takedown of Beijing City party chief Chen Xitong. Bo’s removal in that respect therefore does not indicate a departure from the “rules of the game” as played in the last two decades. From a political perspective, each of the three purges—of the two Chens and of Bo Xilai—removed an irritant to the top leadership at an important moment of transition. The Politburo leadership has, publicly at least, sustained its usual façade of unity throughout the Bo affair, and Bo’s removal likely strengthens rather than disrupts preparations for convocation of the 18th Party Congress this fall.

Prospects for Solidarity in the Xi Jinping Leadership

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, April 30, 2012

It may be true, as is often observed, that if all the world’s economists were laid end to end, they would never reach a conclusion. It is all the more notable therefore that an increasing number of observers of China’s economy are skeptical that the high rate of growth sustained over the past three decades is likely to continue much longer. In the past, China’s leadership has weathered economic stress adroitly—most recently, in blunting the impact of the 2008 world economic crisis. However, the Xi Jinping leadership that is about to take the helm later this year is likely to be more diverse in its outlook, credentials, and experience. And so if projections of trouble in China’s economy ahead are accurate, then it is reasonable to inquire into the prospects of an oligarchic leadership around Xi maintaining collective solidarity and providing effective policy responses.

The Road to the 18th Party Congress

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, January 6, 2012

The recent scheduling of the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th National Congress kicks off the long process of preparations for what will bring about a turnover in leadership generations next year. National party congresses are the most important public event in Chinese leadership politics, and their convocation involves long preparations that inevitably heat up the political atmosphere in Beijing more than a year ahead of time. This article lays out the formal processes involved in preparing for next year’s congress.

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