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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Winter 2017 Issue 52

Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy

Chinese Views on South Korea’s Deployment of THAAD

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Chinese leadership and the overwhelming majority of expert Chinese observers and commentators are strongly opposed to the U.S.-ROK decision to deploy the THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea.

China-Taiwan-United States
Map of Taiwan
China-Taiwan-United States

The Bull in the China Shop

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

As Tsai Ing-wen continued to struggle with implementation of her ambitious reform programs—losing public support in the process—Beijing maintained pressure to accept the “1992 Consensus” or some other expression of “one China.”

Military Affairs
Military Affairs

“Scraping Poison Off the Bone”: An Examination of the Campaign to “Eliminate the Baneful Influence of Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou”

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

In July 2016, Chinese state media began using a new formulation about “eliminating the baneful [pernicious] influence of Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou” from the military. 

Economic Policy
Economic Policy

Xi Jinping’s Economic Policy in the Run-up to the 19th Party Congress: The Gift from Donald Trump

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

In the run-up to the 19th Party Congress in the fall of 2017, Xi Jinping has a strong interest in sustaining three narratives: the Chinese economy is growing stably, economic reform is moving forward, and a rising China is playing a more important role on the global scene.

Political Reform and Governance
Political Reform and Governance

PRC Religious Policy: Serving the Gods of the CCP

by Jessica Batkevia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Beijing’s update of national-level religious regulations is part and parcel of a larger governance effort.

Party Affairs
Party Affairs

What Would Deng Do?

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Xi Jinping’s ideological proclivities have been variously described as drawing from Mao Zedong, Confucius, and Deng Xiaoping.

E.g., 3 / 28 / 2017
E.g., 3 / 28 / 2017
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spring 2010: Issue 32

Foreign Policy

by Michael D. Swaine Tuesday, May 11, 2010
article

China-Taiwan-United States

by Alan D. Romberg Tuesday, May 11, 2010
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Tuesday, May 11, 2010
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Tuesday, May 11, 2010
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Tuesday, May 11, 2010
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Tuesday, May 11, 2010
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Tuesday, May 11, 2010
article
Monday, February 15, 2010

Winter 2010: Issue 31

Foreign Policy

by Michael D. Swaine Monday, February 15, 2010
article

PRC-Tawain-United States

by Alan D. Romberg Monday, February 15, 2010
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Monday, February 15, 2010
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Monday, February 15, 2010
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Monday, February 15, 2010
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Monday, February 15, 2010
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Monday, February 15, 2010
article
Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fall 2009: Issue 30

Special Topic: The Fourth Plenum (Military Affairs)

by James Mulvenon Thursday, November 19, 2009
article

Special Topic: The Fourth Plenum (Party Affairs)

by Alice L. Miller Thursday, November 19, 2009
article

Special Topic: The Fourth Plenum (Provinces)

by Cheng Li Thursday, November 19, 2009
article

Foreign Policy

by Michael D. Swaine Thursday, November 19, 2009
article

PRC-Tawain-United States

by Alan D. Romberg Thursday, November 19, 2009
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Thursday, November 19, 2009
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Thursday, November 19, 2009
article
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summer 2009: Issue 29

PRC-Tawain-United States

by Alan D. Romberg Tuesday, August 11, 2009
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Tuesday, August 11, 2009
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Tuesday, August 11, 2009
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Tuesday, August 11, 2009
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Tuesday, August 11, 2009
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Tuesday, August 11, 2009
article

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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.

Wuhan, China
Economic Policy

‘Deepening Reform’: The Organization and the Emerging Strategy

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 28, 2014

The Chinese leadership has set up an elaborate top-level apparatus to advance the reforms announced at last year’s Third Plenum.  This apparatus extends down to local governments and strongly incentivizes local governments to push forward with local reforms as well.  However, these reforms are still not well defined, and specific guidance from the top level has lagged behind the creation of “reform leading groups.”  The resulting pattern is one of broad movement but relatively slow delivery of actual reform measures.  As proposals percolate up from below and “top-level designs” are further fleshed out, we can anticipate an additional protracted stage of bargaining, conflict, and slow consensus-building.  Important reforms will emerge over the next few years, but there are also risks that irreconcilable conflicts may emerge or that botched reforms may incite a backlash.

Military Affairs

Groupthink? PLA Leading Small Groups and the Prospect for Real Reform and Change in the Chinese Military

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 28, 2014

As a result of the 18th Party Congress and its subsequent plenums, especially the Third Plenum in the fall of 2013, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has embarked on a broad set of institutional reforms, tackling training, political work, command and control, and corruption among others. These reform efforts fall under the purview of newly established “leading groups,” led by senior officials in the relevant offices. This article examines the personnel and institutional makeup of these new groups, outlines their declared and undeclared missions, and assesses the probability of their success.

Nuclear Weapons
China-Taiwan-United States

Sunshine Heats Up Taiwan Politics, Affects PRC Tactics

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 28, 2014

In Taiwan this spring, the “Sunflower” student-led occupation of the Legislative Yuan, continuing interparty stalemate over the cross-Strait trade in services agreement and Legislative Yuan supervision of cross-Strait negotiations, revision of the referendum law, and the fate of the 4th Nuclear Power Plant sparked bitter political conflict.  At the same time, both major parties have begun the process of choosing new leaders.  All of those developments are sure to have an impact not only on domestic politics but also on cross-Strait relations.  On the PRC side, Xi Jinping’s policy toward Taiwan continued to attract attention, with the unification-related messaging of late 2013 giving way to a more pragmatic approach. 

Foreign Policy

Chinese Views and Commentary on Periphery Diplomacy

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 28, 2014

Recent Chinese initiatives that imply a more proactive approach in foreign and defense policy are the product of ongoing debate in Beijing over how to define PRC national interests toward China’s periphery.  Departing from Beijing’s approach during most of the reform era, they suggest a decreased emphasis on Deng Xiaoping’s longstanding exhortation for China to remain modest and maintain a low profile in its external relations.  Among the many questions this raises for China’s external relations going forward, the most important is how Beijing will reconcile the contradictory policy imperatives of deepening positive relations with neighboring countries while more firmly advancing China’s territorial and resource interests and claims.

The Provinces

Xi Jinping’s Inner Circle (Part 1: The Shaanxi Gang)

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, March 14, 2014

Like successful politicians elsewhere, President Xi Jinping assumed China’s top leadership role with the support of an inner circle. This group has been crucial to Xi’s efforts to consolidate power during his first year in office. This first article in a series of three focuses on native-place associations, namely the so-called Shaanxi Gang, which includes the “Iron Triangle” grouping in the Politburo Standing Committee. Such discussion can help reveal the future trajectory of politics and policy-making during the Xi administration. The analysis of the positioning and promotion of some of Xi’s longtime friends provides an invaluable assessment of both Xi’s current power and the potential for effective policy implementation.

Political Reform

Mao’s Shadow

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, March 14, 2014

Nearly four decades after his death, Mao Zedong remains a controversial figure in Chinese Communist Party history, raising as he does questions of legitimacy. Over the past year the issue of how the Mao years should be evaluated in comparison to the reform years has been raised and discussed by Xi Jinping and others. This discussion apparently responds to divergent opinions in the party and seems to reflect Xi Jinping’s determination to define China’s ideology and its limits.

Economic Policy

After the Third Plenum: Economic Reform Revival Moves toward Implementation

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, March 14, 2014

The Third Plenum basically fulfilled the expectations placed on it, as it responded adequately to the credibility crisis that confronts Chinese policy today. New challenges of interpretation and implementation now rise to the fore. With the creation and staffing of the Reform Leadership Small Group, the initial outlines of the implementation process are coming into view. These show continued strong commitment to the goals of economic reform, but significant risks of reform strategy and implementation persist.

Military Affairs

Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Liaoning?—The PLA Once Again Considers Reorganization

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, March 14, 2014

Since the first sweeping structural reform of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in 1985, the military media have periodically floated trial balloons about deeper restructuring, but the political realities of the situation have consistently stymied the proposed changes. In early 2014, the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported that the PLA was planning to make the most significant modifications to its command and control structure in almost 30 years, replacing its administrative, geographically oriented military region system with a mission-oriented configuration designed to match the increasing “joint” orientation of its deployed forces. To the surprise of many, official Chinese media organs did not reject the report out of hand, but instead expressed dismay that the information had been disseminated prematurely, and grudgingly acknowledged plans to carry out the changes. This article describes the historical rationale for the current command and control structure of the PLA, analyzes the factors motivating its alteration, and assesses the implications of these latest indications of reform.

China-Taiwan-United States

From Generation to Generation: Advancing Cross-Strait Relations

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, March 14, 2014

When PRC leader Xi Jinping met with Taiwan’s former vice president Vincent Siew at the APEC leaders meeting in early October, he went beyond reiterating the standard position on the importance of promoting peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. Xi said that, in the “long term,” political differences between the two sides must be resolved and not be passed on from generation to generation. In this essay we explore that statement and its implications.

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The China Leadership Monitor seeks to inform the American foreign policy community about current trends in China's leadership politics and in its foreign and domestic policies. The Monitor proceeds on the premise that as China's importance in international affairs grows, American policy-makers and the broader policy-interested public increasingly need analysis of politics among China's leadership that is accurate, comprehensive, systematic, current, and relevant to major areas of interest to the United States.

China Leadership Monitor analysis rests heavily on traditional China-watching methods of interpreting information in China's state-controlled media. Use of these methods was once universal among specialists in contemporary Chinese affairs. Although the use of these methods has declined as opportunities to study China using other approaches have opened up in recent decades, their value in following politics among China's top leadership has not. Monitor analysis also brings to bear some of the new avenues of information and insight that have opened up since the normalization of U.S.-China relations and China's policy "opening to the outside world" in the late 1970s.

The China Leadership Monitor website is updated with new analyses quarterly.

Subscribe here to receive a free copy in your email inbox every quarter.

The China Leadership Monitor is sponsored by the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. Its general editor is Hoover Institution research fellow Alice Miller.