In recent months, China's security policy has enjoyed significant successes. Relations with the United States have improved, particularly on issues related to North Korea. The mainland's generally relaxed approach toward Taiwan apparently has also paid dividends for Beijing by helping to solidify domestic resistance in Taipei to the purchase of weapons systems on offer from the United States since April 2001. Beijing, however, still has dangerously tense relations with Japan over disputed maritime claims that have implications for energy resource exploitation and control of sea lines of communication. These disputes, especially in the context of tensions over Japan's treatment of its wartime history, threaten to destabilize great power relations in the region and undercut China's efforts to promote itself as a power whose rise will only bring peace to East Asia.
Each year on October 1, Liberation Army Daily publishes an editorial celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Along with similar commentary published on Army Day on August 1 and the anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party on July 1, each year's National Day editorial offers a snapshot of the dominant political and military policy "lines." This article compares the text of this year's commentary with the three previous National Day messages, and assesses the implications for party-military relations and military modernization.
Wenzhou is famous for its thriving private economy. Less well known is the growth of chambers of commerce and other trade associations there. These organizations are changing the structures by which China is governed and policy is made. Chambers of commerce have done much to promote quality standards within industry and maintain Wenzhou's competitiveness. Though these groups have brought about new forms of state-society accommodation, they have not challenged party rule. On the contrary, they are another manifestation of the emergence of a new political-economic elite which broadly agrees on many issues.
China's New 11th Five Year Plan proposals are remarkable, both for what they contain, and for how they were created. The proposals set few quantitative targets and no specific industrial policies or programs. Instead, they present a program for government action designed to ensure that rapid growth will be sustainable over the long term, and that the fruits of growth will be more equitably shared. The document was drawn up through a broadly consultative—but also tightly scripted—process. However, its recommendations are broad and abstract, and in many cases specific policies needed to implement the recommendations do not exist. Both the Plan and the manner in which it was drawn up are highly characteristic of the Hu Jintao-Wen Jiabao administration. As such, the plan should be seen as this administration's economic program.
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.
The Chinese authorities claim that they have made an effort to recruit foreign-educated returnees into all walks of life, including the political leadership. Yet do China's top leaders really trust Western-educated returnees? Can the Chinese political system genuinely open its doors to talented people returning from the outside world? This article shows that the percentage of returnees at high-levels of leadership is still very small. They usually serve in the functional areas of education such as science and technology, finance, foreign trade, and foreign affairs. Most spent only one to three years overseas, and lack solid academic credentials or broad professional experience.