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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Spring 2017 Issue 53

Foreign Policy
US-China Relations
Foreign Policy

Chinese Views on the Trump Administration’s Asia Policy

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, May 25, 2017

Chinese commentary on the Trump administration’s foreign policy has avoided making hostile responses to what Beijing may regard as notable U.S. provocations. 

China-Taiwan-United States
China-Taiwan-United States

Cross-Strait Relations: Marking Time

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, May 25, 2017

There have been no dramatic developments in cross-Strait relations of late. Instead, Beijing continues its steady pressure on the Taiwan authorities while courting private interests. 

Military Affairs
Military Affairs

“Safeguarding the Core and Following Commands”: Party-Army Relations Before the 19th Party Congress

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, May 25, 2017

In the run-up to the 19th Party Congress, scheduled for the fall of 2017, an important phrase appeared in Chinese military propaganda, exhorting the rank and file to “safeguard the core and follow commands.”

Economic Policy
Economic Policy

The Regulatory Storm: A Surprising Turn in Financial Policy

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, May 25, 2017

A surprisingly strong and concerted regulatory effort is shaking up the Chinese financial sector. 

Political Reform and Governance
Political Reform and Governance

The National People’s Congress in 2017: Security, Ideology, and Experimentation

by Jessica Batkevia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, May 25, 2017

A review of the work performed over the past few years by the National People’s Congress and its Standing Committee—the body that “turns the party’s propositions into the will of the state”—can provide a clear synopsis of the Chinese Communist Party’s governance priorities. 

Party Affairs
Party Affairs

How to Read Xi Jinping’s 19th Party Congress Political Report

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, May 25, 2017

Following longstanding procedures, General Secretary Xi Jinping will deliver a long political report at the Chinese Communist Party’s 19th National Congress next fall. 

E.g., 6 / 27 / 2017
E.g., 6 / 27 / 2017
Thursday, January 30, 2003

Winter 2003: Issue 5

Foreign Policy

by Thomas Christensen Thursday, January 30, 2003
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Thursday, January 30, 2003
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Thursday, January 30, 2003
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Thursday, January 30, 2003
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Thursday, January 30, 2003
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Thursday, January 30, 2003
article
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

Fall 2002: Issue 4

Foreign Policy

by Thomas Christensen Wednesday, October 30, 2002
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Wednesday, October 30, 2002
article
by James Mulvenon Wednesday, October 30, 2002
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Wednesday, October 30, 2002
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Wednesday, October 30, 2002
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Wednesday, October 30, 2002
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Wednesday, October 30, 2002
article

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Economic Policy

Inflation, Welfare, and the Political Business Cycle

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Since April, China has focused on the inflationary challenge. The months of delay before strong measures were taken allowed inflationary pressures to become established, and inflation increased through July despite tight monetary policy. Politicians have resorted to price controls, including in the sensitive housing sector. The lack of success in fighting inflation has fed an unsettled mood in the population, which complicates the power transition set for next year. In particular, the position of Li Keqiang, premier designate, has been weakened.

Military Affairs

Give Us Another Chance? China and the 2011 Shangri-La Dialogue

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Between 3 and 5 June 2011, the national security officials of 28 Asia-Pacific nations gathered in Singapore for the annual Asia Security Summit, also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue. After a rough year, marked by clashes with regional neighbors and an unprecedented rebuke at the ASEAN Regional Forum, Beijing saw this year’s meeting as an opportunity to repair damage and restore strategic momentum, and therefore sent its highest-ranking delegation in 10 years of meetings. This article examines Chinese strategic communications in the runup to the Dialogue, analyzes the content of General Liang’s keynote speech and his meetings with foreign counterparts, and assesses the implications for Chinese relations with the United States and the remainder of the region.

China-Taiwan-United States

The 2012 Taiwan Election: Off and Running

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The focus of cross-Strait relations has turned to Taiwan’s January 2012 presidential election, and particularly to the Democratic Progressive Party’s selection of its candidate for president and on the shaping of party positions on key issues—each with potentially major implications for relations between Beijing and Taipei. The DPP’s nomination of party chair Tsai Ing-wen and its focus on domestic economic and social issues as well as cross-Strait policies will have an important bearing on Beijing’s attitude toward the prospect of another DPP administration, and principally with regard to the DPP’s underlying doctrine regarding Taiwan independence and the concept of “one China.” With only a few months to go before votes are cast, most public opinion polls show a very close race between incumbent President Ma Ying-jeou and Tsai. Demonstrating its continued hope that Ma will win reelection, Beijing has been sending out increasingly explicit signals that any administration in Taipei that does not oppose “Taiwan independence” and embrace the “1992 Consensus” (or some equivalent formulation affirming “one China”) will find it hard to do business across the Strait. At the same time, Beijing must wrestle with the very real possibility of a Tsai victory and the prospect that freezing cross-Strait relations could ultimately redound to the detriment of its long-term efforts to woo Taiwan toward reunification.

Foreign Policy

China’s Assertive Behavior—Part Two: The Maritime Periphery

by Michael D. Swaine, M. Taylor Fravelvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The previous issue of the Monitor assessed whether, to what extent, and in what manner Beijing is becoming more assertive in promoting the concept of “core interests.” This essay complements that analysis by examining Chinese statements and actions with regard to China’s entire maritime periphery, from the Yellow Sea to the South China Sea, with regard to both disputed and undisputed maritime territories. It assesses whether, to what degree, and in what ways the PRC has become more assertive along its maritime periphery in recent years. It also assesses the external and domestic forces motivating Beijing to become more or less assertive over time and the prospects for Chinese assertiveness with regard to maritime sovereignty issues in the future.

The Provinces

China’s Midterm Jockeying: Gearing Up for 2012 (Part 4: Top Leaders of Major State-Owned Enterprises)

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

As the Chinese flagship state-owned companies become increasingly assertive in both the domestic and international economy, so too are the chief executive officers (CEOs) of these firms becoming more aggressive in their jockeying for power in the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Compared with the three elite groups (provincial chiefs, cabinet ministers, and military leaders) that have long constituted the principal components of the CCP Central Committee and its Politburo, the proportion of CEOs of China’s large enterprises in the national leadership is still relatively small. But it is evident that younger, business-savvy, politically connected, and globally minded Chinese CEOs have recently become a new source of the CCP leadership.

Party Affairs

Splits in the Politburo Leadership?

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Several events in recent months—remarks by Premier Wen Jiabao on political reform, foreign travels of party security chief Zhou Yongkang, and the elevation of Xi Jinping to a key military policy-making post—have prompted conjectures about splits among China’s top leadership. This article assesses the evidence for these speculations.

Political Reform

Political Reform Was Never on the Agenda

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In August 2010 Premier Wen Jiabao went to the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, which was approaching the celebration of its 30th anniversary, and gave a speech that, among other things, called for political reform. What exactly Wen meant by his remarks, and whether he differed significantly from General Secretary Hu Jintao, who gave an official and less enthusiastic address in Shenzhen two weeks later, have become topics of intense media speculation. Whatever distance may or may not lie between the general secretary and his premier, it is safe to assume that Wen was not crossing swords with Hu and that significant political reform—meaning reform that would challenge the Chinese Communist Party’s monopoly on power—was never on the agenda. There is, on the contrary, good evidence that the CCP is continuing on a trajectory of limited, inner-party “democracy” that it set on some time ago.

Economic Policy

What Price Continuity?

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Fifth Plenum of the 17th Party Congress in October 2010 sent a strong message of continuity. In economic policy, continuity was proclaimed with the official Communist Party “Suggestions” on the forthcoming 12th Five-Year Plan (2011–2015), which basically restated the principles enunciated in the ending 11th Five-Year Plan (2005–2010). However, this ideal of continuity is challenged by two questions: First, what changes would be needed in order to implement those parts of the 11th Five-Year Plan’s “rebalancing” program that still have not been realized? Second, how likely is it that growing inflationary pressures will blow China’s economic policy off its supposedly steady course? By the end of December 2010, China was barely beginning to face some of the difficult choices that were deferred at the Fifth Plenum.

Military Affairs

Xi Jinping and the Central Military Commission: Bridesmaid or Bride?

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In the runup to the 18th Party Congress, speculation has been rife about the promotion schedule for purported heir apparent Xi Jinping. After he was not promoted to the vice-chairmanship of the Central Military Commission (CMC) at the Fourth Plenum of the 17th Party Congress in fall 2009, some analysts opined that Xi’s ascension was in jeopardy, since it was not following the exact pattern of his predecessor. But Xi’s appointment to the post at the Fifth Plenum has refocused attention on Hu Jintao’s intentions to give up the CMC chairmanship at the 18th Congress. This article examines Xi Jinping’s leadership run, and assesses the implications of the current situation for party-military relations.

China-Taiwan-United States

Cross-Strait Relations: Setting the Stage for 2012

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Various developments throughout the latter half of 2010 and the early weeks of 2011 have begun to set the stage for changes in both Taiwan and on the Mainland leading up to 2012. Despite the remarkable improvement in cross-Strait relations over the past 32 months, potentially clashing policy trends will test the durability of what has been achieved. This essay addresses the political situation in Taiwan in recent months, including the jockeying for position in terms of Mainland policy, in the context of the PRC’s own efforts to nudge things toward more explicit acceptance of “one China” while seeking to win hearts and minds on the island. It also touches on emerging issues that will likely grow in importance for cross-Strait relations over the next year.

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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.

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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.