China Leadership Monitor

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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
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
Friday, May 8, 2009

Spring 2009: Issue 28

PRC-Tawain-United States

by Alan D. Romberg Friday, May 8, 2009
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Friday, May 8, 2009
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Friday, May 8, 2009
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Friday, May 8, 2009
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Friday, May 8, 2009
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Friday, May 8, 2009
article
Friday, January 9, 2009

Winter 2009: Issue 27

Special Topic: The Third Plenum's Rural Reforms

by Joseph Fewsmith Friday, January 9, 2009
article
by Cheng Li Friday, January 9, 2009
article

PRC-Tawain-United States

by Alan D. Romberg Friday, January 9, 2009
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Friday, January 9, 2009
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Friday, January 9, 2009
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Friday, January 9, 2009
article
Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fall 2008: Issue 26

PRC-Tawain-United States

by Alan D. Romberg Tuesday, September 2, 2008
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Tuesday, September 2, 2008
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Tuesday, September 2, 2008
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Tuesday, September 2, 2008
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Tuesday, September 2, 2008
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Tuesday, September 2, 2008
article

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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.

Foreign Policy

Chinese Views and Commentary on the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, March 14, 2014

China’s establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone has incited strong criticisms and increased regional tensions. Both authoritative and non-authoritative sources argue consistently and often emphatically that the zone is intended to improve safety and stability and is not directed at any particular country or target. Yet the vague language used to describe the zone, as well as the extensive and often hostile rhetoric toward Japan, suggests that such assertions are incorrect and disingenuous at best. While China has every right to set up an ADIZ, its failure to reassure other nations or clearly define the enforcement and intended impact of the zone has undermined any purported stabilizing intentions and damaged China’s larger strategic interests.

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.

The Provinces

The Rise of the Legal Profession in the Chinese Leadership

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, October 7, 2013

Crucial to any analysis of China’s political trajectory is an understanding of the kind of leadership that is governing the country. This is even more important now, given the emergence of new political elites with distinct educational and professional credentials who will be running the country for the next decade and beyond. Throughout PRC history, changes in the composition of the political elite have often reflected—and sometimes heralded—broad social, economic, political, and ideological changes in the country at large. This essay examines the rapid rise of lawyers and legal professionals in both Chinese higher courts and the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, and it links the trend of professionalization of the court judges and the emergence of legal professionals in the CCP leadership with paradoxical developments regarding the rule of law.

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.

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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.