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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., 9 / 21 / 2017
E.g., 9 / 21 / 2017
Thursday, November 19, 2009

Fall 2009: Issue 30

Special Topic: The Fourth Plenum (Military Affairs)

by James Mulvenon Thursday, November 19, 2009
article

Special Topic: The Fourth Plenum (Party Affairs)

by Alice L. Miller Thursday, November 19, 2009
article

Special Topic: The Fourth Plenum (Provinces)

by Cheng Li Thursday, November 19, 2009
article

Foreign Policy

by Michael D. Swaine Thursday, November 19, 2009
article

PRC-Tawain-United States

by Alan D. Romberg Thursday, November 19, 2009
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Thursday, November 19, 2009
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Thursday, November 19, 2009
article
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 Cheng Li Friday, January 9, 2009
article
by Joseph Fewsmith 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

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Foreign Policy

Xi Jinping’s Trip to Latin America

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Xi Jinping’s 10-day trip to Latin America in July 2014 constitutes an important milestone in the development of China-Latin America relations, marking the first major visit to this increasingly important region for a top Chinese leader since the extensive trip taken by Hu Jintao in 2004.  

The Provinces

Xi Jinping’s Inner Circle (Part 2: Friends from Xi’s Formative Years)

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 28, 2014

The dominance of Jiang Zemin’s political allies in the current Politburo Standing Committee has enabled Xi Jinping, who is a protégé of Jiang, to pursue an ambitious reform agenda during his first term. The effectiveness of Xi’s policies and the political legacy of his leadership, however, will depend significantly on the political positioning of Xi’s own protégés, both now and during his second term.  This second article in a series examines Xi’s longtime friends—the political confidants Xi met during his formative years and with whom he has remained close over the past several decades.

Party Affairs

More Already on the Central Committee’s Leading Small Groups

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 28, 2014

The Xi Jinping leadership has substantially revised the array of top-level leading small groups that prevailed under the Hu Jintao leadership.  In doing so the Xi leadership has unveiled aspects of the groups’ role in the policymaking and policy implementation, their leadership, and their varieties in the broader political order.  Although much about these informal groups remains obscure, the steps toward transparency shed new light on the leadership’s policy processes.

Wuhan, China
Economic Policy

‘Deepening Reform’: The Organization and the Emerging Strategy

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 28, 2014

The Chinese leadership has set up an elaborate top-level apparatus to advance the reforms announced at last year’s Third Plenum.  This apparatus extends down to local governments and strongly incentivizes local governments to push forward with local reforms as well.  However, these reforms are still not well defined, and specific guidance from the top level has lagged behind the creation of “reform leading groups.”  The resulting pattern is one of broad movement but relatively slow delivery of actual reform measures.  As proposals percolate up from below and “top-level designs” are further fleshed out, we can anticipate an additional protracted stage of bargaining, conflict, and slow consensus-building.  Important reforms will emerge over the next few years, but there are also risks that irreconcilable conflicts may emerge or that botched reforms may incite a backlash.

Military Affairs

Groupthink? PLA Leading Small Groups and the Prospect for Real Reform and Change in the Chinese Military

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 28, 2014

As a result of the 18th Party Congress and its subsequent plenums, especially the Third Plenum in the fall of 2013, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has embarked on a broad set of institutional reforms, tackling training, political work, command and control, and corruption among others. These reform efforts fall under the purview of newly established “leading groups,” led by senior officials in the relevant offices. This article examines the personnel and institutional makeup of these new groups, outlines their declared and undeclared missions, and assesses the probability of their success.

Nuclear Weapons
China-Taiwan-United States

Sunshine Heats Up Taiwan Politics, Affects PRC Tactics

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 28, 2014

In Taiwan this spring, the “Sunflower” student-led occupation of the Legislative Yuan, continuing interparty stalemate over the cross-Strait trade in services agreement and Legislative Yuan supervision of cross-Strait negotiations, revision of the referendum law, and the fate of the 4th Nuclear Power Plant sparked bitter political conflict.  At the same time, both major parties have begun the process of choosing new leaders.  All of those developments are sure to have an impact not only on domestic politics but also on cross-Strait relations.  On the PRC side, Xi Jinping’s policy toward Taiwan continued to attract attention, with the unification-related messaging of late 2013 giving way to a more pragmatic approach. 

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.

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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.