Alice L. Miller

Research Fellow
Biography: 

Alice Lyman Miller is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and lecturer in East Asian studies at Stanford.

Miller first joined the Hoover Institution in 1999 as a visiting fellow. She also served as a senior lecturer in the Department of National Security Affairs at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, 1999-2014. Before coming to Stanford, Miller taught at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. From 1980 to 1990, she was a professorial lecturer in Chinese history and politics at SAIS. From 1990 to 2000, she was an associate professor of China studies and, for most of that period, director of the China Studies Program at SAIS. She also held a joint appointment as adjunct associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins from 1996 to 1999 and as adjunct lecturer in the Department of Government, Georgetown University, from 1996 to 1998. From 1974 to 1990, Miller worked in the Central Intelligence Agency as a senior analyst in Chinese foreign policy and domestic politics and as a branch and division chief, supervising analysis on China, North Korea, Indochina, and Soviet policy in East Asia. Miller has lived and worked in Taiwan, Japan, and the People’s Republic of China; she speaks Mandarin Chinese.

Miller's research focuses on Chinese foreign policy and domestic politics and on the international relations of Asia. Since 2001, she has served as general editor and regular contributor to the Hoover Institution’s China Leadership Monitor, which offers authoritative assessments of trends in Chinese leadership politics and policy to US policymakers and the general public. She is also working on a new book, tentatively entitled The Evolution of Chinese Grand Strategy, 1550–Present, which brings a historical perspective to bear on China's rising power in the contemporary international order.

Miller has published extensively on policy issues dealing with China, including several in the Hoover Digest. Others include "The Foreign Policy Outlook of China's Third-Generation Elite,” with Liu Xiaohong, in The Making of Chinese Foreign and Security Policy in the Era of Reform (David M. Lampton, ed., University of California Press, 2001); "The Late Imperial State," in festschrift for Franz Michael, The Modern Chinese State (David Shambaugh, ed., Cambridge University Press, 2000); and "Is China Unstable?" in Is China Unstable? (David Shambaugh, ed., M.E. Sharpe, 2000). She is the author of Science and Dissent in Post-Mao China: The Politics of Knowledge (University of Washington Press, 1996) and, with SAIS professor Richard Wich, Becoming Asia: Change and Continuity in Asian International Relations since World War II (Stanford University Press, 2011).

Miller won the Distinguished Teaching Award at Johns Hopkins University in 1994–95 and the Schieffelin Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Naval Postgraduate School in 2012. Miller has been interviewed on Voice of America, National Public Radio, CNN, and in Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, as well as press from Japan, Taiwan, and the People's Republic of China.

Miller graduated from Princeton University in 1966, receiving a BA in Oriental studies. She earned an MA and a PhD in history from George Washington University in 1969 and 1974. Formerly H. Lyman Miller, she transitioned in 2006.

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Party Affairs

The Road to the 17th Party Congress

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, July 7, 2006

This summer the Chinese leadership will begin active preparations for the 17th national congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), expected to convene in 2007. Party congresses are the most important public event in Chinese leadership politics, and their convocation involves long preparations that inevitably heat up the political atmosphere in Beijing more than a year ahead of time. This article projects the course of preparations ahead and suggests some of the issues that are likely to be debated on the way to the 17th Congress.

Party Affairs

More Already on Politburo Procedures under Hu Jintao

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, January 30, 2006

A recent chronicle of Deng Xiaoping's political life after 1975 discloses previously restricted information about scores of meetings of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) top decision-making bodies, the Politburo and its Standing Committee. These data provide a more reliable baseline than has been previously available against which to assess the long-term evolution of the party Politburo in the post–Mao Zedong era and, together with continuing PRC media coverage of current sessions of the party Politburo, analyze its present-day procedures. This article complements and extends analysis, published in previous issues of the China Leadership Monitor, of Politburo operations since 2002 under the CCP's present top leader, General Secretary Hu Jintao.

Party Affairs

Hu's in Charge?

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee's Fifth Plenum opened amid a swirl of rumors that a major shift in high level party appointments was in the works. Party General Secretary Hu Jintao had finally assumed the array of top leadership positions held by his predecessor Jiang Zemin, and was expected to begin promoting allies onto the party Politburo and dismantling Jiang's power base in Shanghai. Yet the plenum closed without making any changes in official appointments, inviting basic questions both about Hu Jintao's power and, more broadly, about the dynamics of leadership politics in China today.

Party Affairs

Hu Jintao and the Central Party Apparatus

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Saturday, July 30, 2005

Nearly three years into his tenure as the top leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Hu Jintao has yet to make substantial progress in consolidating his power over the key organs of the central party apparatus. Hu's predecessor Jiang Zemin also moved cautiously and with limited success to place political subordinates into these posts at a comparable point in his tenure. Soon after consolidating his position at the top of the PRC political order, however, Jiang moved more quickly to promote his associates in the central party apparatus. Now that Hu has completed a comparable transition, he may move more assertively to do the same, especially as 2007 approaches, bringing with it the 17th Party Congress.

A Superpower? No Time Soon

by Alice L. Millervia Hoover Digest
Saturday, April 30, 2005

China’s economy is growing at a phenomenal pace, but Beijing has a long way to go to acquire the global political, strategic, and economic reach of a superpower. By Alice Lyman Miller.

Party Affairs

National People's Congress Completes Jiang-Hu Succession

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Saturday, April 30, 2005

At its annual meeting in March 2005, China's parliament formally transferred former top leader Jiang Zemin's last official post to his successor Hu Jintao. The transfer completes an unprecedented process of orderly leadership succession that began two and a half years ago. Since the National People's Congress, Jiang has assumed a nearly invisible public posture consistent with those of other retired elders among the Chinese leadership. Meanwhile, Hu has been depicted as moving carefully in new policy directions while maintaining continuity with the policies associated with Jiang Zemin.

Party Affairs

With Hu in Charge, Jiang's at Ease

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Sunday, January 30, 2005

Jiang Zemin's replacement by Hu Jintao as China's highest military leader at a major party meeting in September 2004 completes the process of top leadership succession begun two years earlier. Hu's orderly succession to Jiang—first as the top party leader, then as PRC president, and now as China's commander in chief—stands as the only instance of a successfully planned retirement of a top leader in favor of a younger designated successor in the history of a major communist country. It also provokes fundamental questions about how the top leadership level of China's political process works today.

Party Affairs

Commemorating Deng to Press Party Reform

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Saturday, October 30, 2004

The Hu Jintao leadership took advantage of the recent centenary of Deng Xiaoping's birth to lend authority to controversial proposals for reform of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that it seeks to ratify at the forthcoming Fourth Plenum of the party Central Committee. Preparations for the party plenum have stimulated more than the usual volume of rumors among Chinese of intensified leadership conflict, accompanied by a wave of related speculations in the Hong Kong and Western press. But available evidence from China's media provides little support for these speculations. Instead, the central leadership has sustained the public façade of unanimity and collective discipline that it has managed over the past several years, despite the disputes and debates over personnel and policy that may divide its members.

Party Affairs

Party Politburo Processes under Hu Jintao

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, July 30, 2004

Attention in PRC media to the activities of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo in the 18 months since the 16th Party Congress has illuminated aspects of that body's operating procedures and its members' roles. In particular, recent media reporting has further clarified the Politburo's meeting schedule and agenda, as well as the division of responsibilities for policy supervision among its membership. There have also been rare glimpses of the "leadership small groups"—the informal task forces that coordinate implementation of Politburo decisions throughout the party, state, and other hierarchies in China's political order. A previous article in China Leadership Monitor (issue 9, winter 2004) assessed aspects of the Politburo's schedule in the context of broader party procedural reforms inaugurated under Hu Jintao's leadership. This article complements and extends that analysis.

Party Affairs

Where Have All the Elders Gone?

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, April 30, 2004

The sweeping turnover of top party and state leaders completed in 2003 brought about the retirement of more than a dozen influential men who had dominated China's politics in the 1990s. Together they join a group of leaders, commonly referred to as the "elders," who presumably retain significant political influence in the decision making of their successors. Since retiring, however, the elders have presented a very low public profile, so divining the extent and nature of their influence is a highly speculative enterprise.

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