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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, June 17, 2008

Summer 2008: Issue 25

PRC-Tawain-United States

by Alan D. Romberg Tuesday, June 17, 2008
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Tuesday, June 17, 2008
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Tuesday, June 17, 2008
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Tuesday, June 17, 2008
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Tuesday, June 17, 2008
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Tuesday, June 17, 2008
article
Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spring 2008: Issue 24

PRC-Tawain-United States

by Alan D. Romberg Wednesday, March 12, 2008
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Wednesday, March 12, 2008
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Wednesday, March 12, 2008
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Wednesday, March 12, 2008
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Wednesday, March 12, 2008
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Wednesday, March 12, 2008
article
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Winter 2008: Issue 23

PRC-Tawain-United States

by Alan D. Romberg Wednesday, January 23, 2008
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Wednesday, January 23, 2008
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Wednesday, January 23, 2008
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Wednesday, January 23, 2008
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Wednesday, January 23, 2008
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Wednesday, January 23, 2008
article
Thursday, October 4, 2007

Fall 2007: Issue 22

PRC-Tawain-United States

by Alan D. Romberg Friday, October 5, 2007
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Friday, October 5, 2007
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Friday, October 5, 2007
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Friday, October 5, 2007
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Friday, October 5, 2007
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Friday, October 5, 2007
article

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Political Reform

Debating Constitutional Government

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, October 7, 2013

Rather than pull public opinion together, Xi Jinping’s call for realizing the “China Dream” seems to have revealed the depth of cleavage among China’s intellectuals. The newspaper Southern Weekend set off a drama when it responded by writing a New Year’s editorial calling the China Dream the dream of constitutional government, only to have provincial propaganda authorities rewrite it beyond recognition before publication. Subsequently, Xi Jinping authorized a sharp attack on “Western values,” including constitutionalism. This internal talk, written into the now infamous “Document No. 9,” prompted several publications to run articles against constitutionalism, provoking liberal intellectuals to defend the idea. This deep divide suggests there is increasingly little middle ground left among China’s intellectuals, while the backing of different views by different officials reflects a politicization of seemingly intellectual debates. These debates are ultimately about the legitimacy of the government and thus reflect fragility in the political system.

Economic Policy

The Narrow Road to Reform

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, October 7, 2013

The reform policy process this year will culminate in the Third Plenum, which has now been pushed back to November. While the process is on track, delays show the difficulty in crafting a reform design that must adapt to the privileged position of state-owned enterprises and other limitations on reform design. Turbulence in short-term financial markets in June indirectly illuminates some of these problems.

Military Affairs

“Comrade, Where’s My Military Car?”—Xi Jinping’s Throwback Mass-Line Campaign to Curb PLA Corruption

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, October 7, 2013

Since the 18th Party Congress in late 2012, CMC Chairman and CCP supremo Xi Jinping has sought to aggressively confront PLA corruption using classic Mao-era methods, including “mass-line educational campaigns” designed to “rectify work style” through criticism and self-criticism. These organizational techniques, combined with discipline inspections and control of the personnel promotion system, allow Xi to quickly place his stamp upon the PLA, though they will not likely root out the deep structural causes of military corruption in the system.

Foreign Policy

Chinese Views on Cybersecurity in Foreign Relations

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, October 7, 2013

In recent months, the issue of cybersecurity has become a major source of both tension and potential cooperation for the U.S.-China relationship. With Western assessments pointing to China—not only to Chinese individuals, but also most likely the Chinese government (and especially military) sources—as the source of an increasing number of destructive cyberattacks on commercial enterprises and government institutions, Washington has greatly intensified its expression of concern to Beijing.

China-Taiwan-United States

Settling in for the Long Haul: Stability with Chinese Characteristics

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, October 7, 2013

The political turmoil created in Taiwan by the Kuomintang’s move to oust Legislative Yuan speaker Wang Jin-pyng in mid-September capped off several months of tumult over such issues as the abuse-related heatstroke death of a military recruit, the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, and the recently signed cross-Strait services trade agreement. 

The Provinces

A Biographical and Factional Analysis of the Post-2012 Politburo

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, June 6, 2013

This essay assesses the new Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party—the 25 highest-ranking leaders in the party, government, and military in present-day China—using biographical data regarding age, gender, birthplace, educational and occupational credentials, bureaucratic portfolio and career patterns, and political affiliations and factional backgrounds. Norms of elite selection may be inferred from such data, which allows a broad-based quantitative and qualitative analysis of the changes in the top leadership. Findings include the ascendancy of leaders with experience as provincial party secretaries, the swift decline of technocrats, and the appearance of a new form of the factional balance of power. The essay concludes with a preview of the leading contenders for the next Politburo and its supreme Standing Committee.

Political Reform

Xi Jinping’s Fast Start

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, June 6, 2013

To paraphrase Hobbes’ characterization of life, one may say that the politics preceding the 18th Party Congress were long, nasty and brutish. The irony of this process is that in the end the political calculus worked out well for new party leader and president, Xi Jinping. As far as one can tell from the outside, he neither presides over a deeply divided Standing Committee nor faces an incumbent head of the Central Military Commission (CMC), as Hu Jintao was forced to do a decade ago. Moreover, as a princeling whose revolutionary heritage is unquestioned, Xi has approached his job with a confidence unseen in his two predecessors, especially early in their terms.

Economic Policy

Programs of Economic Reform Begin to Emerge

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, June 6, 2013

China’s leaders declared a reform renewal last year, but nothing of significance occurred until the National People’s Congress concluded. Although the congress confirmed the appointments of important reformist technocrats Zhou Xiaochuan and Lou Jiwei, and Liu He took over the office of the Economics and Finance Leadership Small Group of the Communist Party, power was also carefully balanced with representatives of the state sector. Since the NPC meeting, however, there have been clear signs of a renewal of reform policy-making in both the Communist Party and the State Council. The progress of these initiatives should be carefully monitored.

Military Affairs

Military Themes from the 2013 National People’s Congress

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, June 6, 2013

The first plenary session of the 12th National People’s Congress, convened in March 2013, was attended by a large delegation of Chinese military deputies who put forward legislative proposals, listened to government speeches, and met to discuss national military and security issues. This article highlights key military themes from the congress sessions, in particular the role of the PLA in Central Military Commission Chairman Xi Jinping’s vision of the “China dream” and Xi’s three-part “instructions” to the PLA for the coming year.

China-Taiwan-United States

Striving for New Equilibria

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, June 6, 2013

As Beijing established a new state leadership at the 12th National People’s Congress and its companion meeting, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in March 2013, PRC officials continued to stress policy consistency toward Taiwan along lines laid out at the 18th Party Congress in November 2012. They expressed growing confidence that, as cross-Strait relations had already entered a “period of consolidation and deepening” and as the PRC’s growing national power earned it greater international influence, they had the ability to take more initiative in managing cross-Strait development and to cope with foreign “interference” in cross-Strait relations in a calm manner. That said, as one PRC legal scholar pointed out, the central issue regarding Taiwan is “the problem of the Republic of China,” that is both a political issue and a legal issue and at present without solution. The newly appointed head of the Taiwan Affairs Office, Zhang Zhijun, underscored the point when he stated, “as viewed from any perspective, there is no possibility the Mainland will accept the ‘Republic of China.’”

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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.