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
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
Monday, July 16, 2007

Summer 2007: Issue 21

PRC-Tawain-United States

by Alan D. Romberg Monday, July 16, 2007
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Monday, July 16, 2007
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Monday, July 16, 2007
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Monday, July 16, 2007
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Monday, July 16, 2007
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Monday, July 16, 2007
article
Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Winter 2007: Issue 20

PRC-Tawain-United States

by Alan D. Romberg Wednesday, February 28, 2007
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Wednesday, February 28, 2007
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Wednesday, February 28, 2007
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Wednesday, February 28, 2007
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Wednesday, February 28, 2007
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Wednesday, February 28, 2007
article
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fall 2006: Issue 19

PRC-Tawain-United States

by Alan D. Romberg Tuesday, October 24, 2006
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Tuesday, October 24, 2006
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Tuesday, October 24, 2006
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Tuesday, October 24, 2006
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Tuesday, October 24, 2006
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Tuesday, October 24, 2006
article

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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.’”

Foreign Policy

Chinese Views Regarding the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands Dispute

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, June 6, 2013

China’s behavior and rhetoric toward Japan regarding a range of controversial events in the East China Sea—from resource claims to naval transits and island territories—constitute a major component of an arguably escalating pattern of assertiveness between Beijing and several of its maritime neighbors. Among these altercations, Beijing’s increasingly acrimonious confrontation with Tokyo over five small islands northeast of Taiwan (called the Diaoyu Islands by China and the Senkaku Islands by Japan) is arguably the most dangerous.

Party Affairs

The Work System of the Xi Jinping Leadership

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, June 6, 2013

Appointments to PRC government posts at the 12th National People’s Congress in March 2013 completed the generational leadership transition that began at last fall’s 18th Party Congress. Analysis of the division of policy responsibilities among the new leadership provides insight into the structure and processes of policy-making under the new party general secretary, Xi Jinping.

Party Affairs

The New Party Politburo Leadership

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, January 14, 2013

The processes of generational turnover of China’s leadership at the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th National Congress extended patterns of formal politics that trace their roots to Deng Xiaoping’s political reforms of the 1980s, that advanced in the Jiang Zemin era in the 1990s, and that matured under outgoing General Secretary Hu Jintao in the 2000s. As such, the transition in the party leadership at the 18th Congress marked another step forward in the institutionalization of Chinese leadership politics.

Political Reform

The 18th Party Congress: Testing the Limits of Institutionalization

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, January 14, 2013

The recent 18th Party Congress, convened only after a year of extremely contentious politics, surprised by generating a leadership group that appeared lopsided in favor of supporters of former general secretary Jiang Zemin (江泽民), thereby raising questions about “politics by elders” (老人政治) and the limits of acceptable intervention. Ironically the apparent bias in favor of Jiang’s network may give new general secretary Xi Jinping (习近平) a relatively free hand in the next few years. Nevertheless, by generating the oldest Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) in years, the congress set up a situation in which five of the seven members of the PBSC will have to retire in only five years and many contentious issues will have to be readdressed relatively soon. Sorting out succession politics issues appears to be getting more difficult over time, but such a judgment will have to wait at least another five years.

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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.