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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., 4 / 29 / 2017
E.g., 4 / 29 / 2017
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
Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Winter 2002: Issue 1

Foreign Policy

by Thomas Christensen Wednesday, January 30, 2002
article

Military Affairs

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

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Wednesday, January 30, 2002
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Wednesday, January 30, 2002
article

Party Affairs

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

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Wednesday, January 30, 2002
article

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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.

Foreign Policy

China’s Assertive Behavior—Part One: On “Core Interests”

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The single most dominant theme in Sino-U.S. relations of the past year or more has been the emergence of a more “assertive China.” This article assesses whether, to what extent, and in what manner Beijing is becoming more assertive in several major areas of relevance to the United States. These are: first, in defining and promoting the concept of “core interests”; second, with regard to U.S. political and military behavior along China’s maritime periphery; third, concerning a variety of economic, trade, and finance issues, from so-called indigenous innovation to global standards regarding reserve currencies; and fourth, with regard to several issues related to international security, from counter-proliferation to climate change.

The Provinces

China’s Midterm Jockeying: Gearing Up for 2012—Part 3: Military Leaders

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, June 28, 2010

The PRC’s civilian-military relationship has always been a central concern among China watchers. Although the political leadership’s control over the military has not been challenged in the last two decades, several factors—a possibly ineffective civilian collective leadership, growing social tensions and public protests, and China’s great power aspirations amid a rapidly changing global environment—may all enhance the military’s influence and power in the years to come. The upcoming political succession in 2012 is expected to involve a large-scale turnover in both the civilian and military leadership. Based on in-depth analysis of the PRC’s 57 currently highest-ranking military officers, this essay aims to address the following important questions: Who are the most likely candidates to become the military’s top leadership at the 18th Party Congress? What are the group characteristics of these rising stars in the Chinese military? What can an analysis of the professional backgrounds and political networks of China’s top officers reveal about the new dynamics between civilian and military elites and the possible challenges that lie ahead?

Party Affairs

The 18th Central Committee Politburo: A Quixotic, Foolhardy, Rashly Speculative, but Nonetheless Ruthlessly Reasoned Projection

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, June 28, 2010

The 18th Party Congress, expected to convene in the fall of 2012, will see a turnover of leadership generations on a scale equaling that at the 16th Party Congress in 2002. Predicting changes in China’s top leadership has always been notoriously hazardous to the reputations of those who undertake it. Nevertheless, incremental institutionalization of leadership processes over the past two decades may offer a surer foundation for such predictions. This article projects what the 18th Central Committee leadership may look like based on the logic of institutionalization.

Political Reform

Institutional Reforms in Xian’an

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, June 28, 2010

Like many agricultural areas of the interior, Xian’an district in Hubei Province faced enormous problems from growing numbers of bureaucratic offices, increasing numbers of cadres, escalating debt, and financial malfeasance. Beginning in 2000, a new Party secretary, Song Yaping, began drastic measures to reduce the size of the cadre force and restructure local government. With strong political backing and a forceful personality, Song appears to have been largely successful, though his reforms remain controversial. The bigger question is whether the model adopted in Xian’an can be spread to other areas, and the answer to that appears to be negative.

Economic Policy

The Turning Point in Housing

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, June 28, 2010

China reached an important turning point in housing policy on April 17, 2010. Policy shifted from stimulating growth to controlling speculative demand for housing, as well as increasing the supply of affordable housing. The central government has pushed the policies on reluctant local government officials, who are dependent on land-sales revenues and closely intertwined with real estate interests. Despite the tensions in implementation, central government commitment to the policy turn appears strong, and it is likely it will be sustained.

Military Affairs

Party-Military Coordination of the Yushu Earthquake Response

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, June 28, 2010

On 14 April 2010, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China’s southern Qinghai Province. The quake killed over 2,000 people and destroyed most of the buildings in the area. As in other recent Chinese natural disasters, such as the May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan Province, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army was mobilized to lead rescue and recovery operations. This article examines the organization of the response effort, and assesses its implications for party-military relations.

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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.