China Leadership Monitor

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Fall 2017 Issue 54

Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy

Chinese Attitudes Toward The U.S. Withdrawal From The Paris Climate Accords

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, September 11, 2017

China’s leaders strongly oppose President Donald J. Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accords.

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

Cross-Strait Relations: Skepticism Abounds

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, September 11, 2017

Whether the issue is internal splits within Taiwan’s two major political parties or Beijing’s view of the parties and their leaders, the predominating mood today is skepticism. 

Military Affairs
Military Affairs

Oh Fang, Where Art Thou? Xi Jinping and the PLA’s 90th Anniversary

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, September 11, 2017

As the Chinese Communist Party heads into the 19th Party Congress in October, Xi Jinping’s speech commemorating the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army was notable both for what he said and what he did not say.

Economic Policy
Economic Policy

The General Secretary’s Extended Reach: Xi Jinping Combines Economics and Politics

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, September 11, 2017

Xi Jinping has seized the initiative in economic policy, making himself the dominant actor in financial regulation and environmental policy, among other areas. 

Political Reform and Governance
Political Reform and Governance

A Cadre by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet? Domestic Policy Trajectory after the 19th Party Congress

by Jessica Batkevia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, September 11, 2017

In advance of the leadership reshuffle this fall, with five of seven Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) members expected to vacate their seats, observers’ focus is trained on the top candidates for advancement and the intense competition between them.

Party Affairs
Party Affairs

Xi Jinping And The Party’s “Guiding Ideology”

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, September 11, 2017

As the 19th Party Congress approaches, there is widespread speculation that the party constitution will be revised to incorporate concepts associated with party General Secretary Xi Jinping as part of the party’s authoritative “guiding ideology.”

E.g., 10 / 20 / 2017
E.g., 10 / 20 / 2017
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Spring 2003: Issue 6

Foreign Policy

by Thomas Christensen Wednesday, April 30, 2003
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Wednesday, April 30, 2003
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Wednesday, April 30, 2003
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Wednesday, April 30, 2003
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Wednesday, April 30, 2003
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Wednesday, April 30, 2003
article
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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Military Affairs

Liu Yuan: Archetype of a “Xi Jinping Man” in the PLA?

by James Mulvenon, Leigh Ann Raglandvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, January 6, 2012

Liu Yuan and Xi Jinping clearly share a great deal in common. Both were born to senior CCP cadres, and are members of the elite “princelings” cohort. Yet both men’s fathers were subjected to purge and mistreatment during the late Mao era, and both families suffered grievously. Despite these dark memories, both went on to achieve rapid growth in their official careers, and both have been outspoken in their extolling of the early years of the CCP revolution. As Xi prepares to ascend to the highest positions in the political system at the 18th Party Congress, this article endeavors to profile Liu Yuan, identify his possible ideological and bureaucratic intersections with Xi Jinping, and assess the implications for PLA promotions and party-military relations in the Xi era.

China-Taiwan-United States

Taiwan Elections Head to the Finish: Concerns, Cautions, and Challenges

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, January 6, 2012

Two major political developments in recent weeks have played an important role in Taiwan’s presidential election: Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to Washington and the problems she encountered convincing American officials she has a workable formula to manage cross-Strait relations, and Ma Ying-jeou’s sudden promotion of the idea of “facing” the issue of a cross-Strait peace accord sometime in the next 10 years, which created a tempest in the campaign teapot. Although Washington strove to temper any impression that it was “taking sides” in the election, the concerns about management of cross-Strait relations remained. The United States went ahead with the much anticipated and very sizable arms sales, and while the PRC protested loudly, it took minimal actions in response. Instead, Beijing began to focus more publicly on the Taiwan political scene, speaking out more and more explicitly about the consequences of an administration in Taipei that did not accept some version of “one China” and oppose Taiwan independence. While there were still limits to how bluntly the PRC position was phrased in order to avoid triggering charges of blatant involvement in the election, concern over the actual outcome began to outweigh concerns about the Mainland’s image on Taiwan, and Beijing was increasingly direct in pointing out that there was no way around the “one China” issue.

Foreign Policy

China’s Assertive Behavior—Part Three: The Role of the Military in Foreign Policy

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, January 6, 2012

In examining the origins, characteristics, and likely future course of a “more assertive” China, many analysts point to the supposedly growing role of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Beijing’s foreign policy process. For such observers, the PLA is a conservative, highly nationalistic, and increasingly capable and confident actor in the Chinese political system and is the main force behind a range of more assertive and confrontational actions undertaken by Beijing in recent years. This article assesses what is reliably known about the role of the PLA in China’s foreign policy processes. It reviews the changing relationship of the PLA to the overall PRC leadership system and political power structure in China and focuses on the organizational and procedural relationship of the PLA to the foreign policy process in particular.

The Provinces

China’s Midterm Jockeying: Gearing Up for 2012—Part Five: Party Apparatchiks

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The apparatchiks, or functionaries, of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), a group that includes several heavyweight contenders for the new top leadership, are particularly important at a time when the Chinese leadership is undergoing a large-scale generational change. These Party apparatchiks control the two most crucial functional domains of the Chinese political system: organization and propaganda. The Central Committee’s Organization Department is responsible for supervising or coordinating the turnover of thousands of current CCP officials in favor of younger colleagues from the central down to the township level, a process that began early this year and will conclude at the 18th Party Congress in the fall of 2012. Meanwhile, the Central Committee Propaganda Department’s recent tightening of media control and the return of old-fashioned Maoist propaganda (as evident in Chongqing’s propaganda fanaticism, which is endorsed by some top leaders) seems to reflect the growing tension between the continuation of rigid ideological indoctrination on the part of the Party apparatus and an increasingly pluralistic and rapidly changing society. This essay assesses the career paths, factional identities, and political status of the top 56 Party apparatchiks, and also analyzes a number of contending governance mechanisms in the now 90-year-old party, which has been struggling for survival or revival.

Party Affairs

The Politburo Standing Committee under Hu Jintao

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

During Hu Jintao’s tenure as general secretary, the Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party has operated under a structure intended to promote collective decision-making on the basis of informed deliberation and consensus and to reinforce stable oligarchic rule. This structure is a refinement of top decision-making arrangements first set down in the 1950s, then restored in the early 1980s by Deng Xiaoping, and revised by Hu’s predecessor Jiang Zemin. While Hu’s presumed successor Xi Jinping is not bound by any explicit provision in the party constitution to replicate the structure and associated policy-making processes of the Hu era, their intended purpose would seem to constrain his freedom to reshape them arbitrarily.

Political Reform

Debating “the China Model”

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, September 21, 2011

In recent years, especially since 2008, there has been a broad-ranging discussion about whether a “China model” exists, and, if so, whether it is good or bad, and whether it is restricted to China or can be spread to other countries. While this discussion has involved both Chinese and foreign scholars around the world, it is largely a discussion about Chinese identity and whether and how China should adopt “Western” concepts and practices or resist such trends. Although some of the discussions are serious explorations of development trends, most are highly politicized and emotional. Participants in the discussion tend to fall along the lines of past debates, with those identified with the “new left” advocating the existence and virtues of the China model, and those identified as liberal rejecting the claims of the former. In addition, there are some who seek to avoid politicization by taking an agnostic attitude toward the existence of a China model. In many ways, the discussion of the China model is a recurrence of earlier debates over “socialism” and “capitalism,” “the Beijing consensus,” and even earlier debates in Chinese history about the uniqueness of Chinese civilization.

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.

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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.