China Leadership Monitor

China Leadership Monitor

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EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 10, 2018 THE CHINA LEADERSHIP MONITOR WEBSITE CAN BE FOUND AT WWW.PRCLEADER.ORG.

This page serves as an archive for China Leadership Monitor hosted at the Hoover Institution prior to November 10, 2018.

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.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Fall 2018 Issue 57

Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy

Chinese Views on the Singapore Summit Between Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong-un

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Chinese observers generally view the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a positive step towards denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

Military Affairs
Military Affairs

“Like Donkeys Slaughtered After They Are Too Old to Work a Grindstone”: PLA Veterans Protests and Party-Military Relations Under Xi Jinping

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

People’s Liberation Army (PLA) veterans are a revered and honored class in China, and the political leadership is very sensitive to perceptions of their treatment and their potential for anti-regime collective action.

Economic Policy
Economic Policy

Economic Policy under Trade War Conditions: Can China Move Beyond Tit for Tat?

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

It has proven extremely difficult for China to deal effectively with Donald Trump’s economic agenda.  

Party Affairs
Party Affairs

Valedictory: Analyzing The Chinese Leadership In An Era Of Sex, Money, And Power

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

This article, my last as Monitor general editor and contributor, offers perspectives on the methods of analyzing Chinese leadership politics today.

E.g., 12 / 6 / 2019
E.g., 12 / 6 / 2019
Friday, January 30, 2004

Winter 2004: Issue 9

Foreign Policy

by Robert L. Suettinger Friday, January 30, 2004
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Friday, January 30, 2004
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Friday, January 30, 2004
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Friday, January 30, 2004
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Friday, January 30, 2004
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Friday, January 30, 2004
article
Thursday, October 30, 2003

Fall 2003: Issue 8

Foreign Policy

by Thomas Christensen Thursday, October 30, 2003
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Thursday, October 30, 2003
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Thursday, October 30, 2003
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Thursday, October 30, 2003
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Thursday, October 30, 2003
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Thursday, October 30, 2003
article
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Summer 2003: Issue 7

Foreign Policy

by Thomas Christensen Wednesday, July 30, 2003
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Wednesday, July 30, 2003
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Wednesday, July 30, 2003
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Wednesday, July 30, 2003
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Wednesday, July 30, 2003
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Wednesday, July 30, 2003
article
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Spring 2003: Issue 6

Foreign Policy

by Thomas Christensen Wednesday, April 30, 2003
article

Military Affairs

by James Mulvenon Wednesday, April 30, 2003
article

Political Reform

by Joseph Fewsmith Wednesday, April 30, 2003
article

Economic Policy

by Barry Naughton Wednesday, April 30, 2003
article

Party Affairs

by Alice L. Miller Wednesday, April 30, 2003
article

The Provinces

by Cheng Li Wednesday, April 30, 2003
article

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Economic Policy

Economic Uncertainty Fuels Political Misgivings

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, August 6, 2012

Political uncertainty is inevitable as China prepares for this fall’s leadership transition. This year economic conditions are also unusually unpredictable. In particular, while China is undergoing an inevitable economic slowdown, few have a clear idea of how drastic the slowdown will be, or how painful the transition to a slower growth path will be. Facing these multiple uncertainties, Chinese politicians are trying to leave themselves as much flexibility as possible.

Military Affairs

The Bo Xilai Affair and the PLA

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, August 6, 2012

On 15 March 2012, Chongqing Municipality leader, princeling and aspiring national elite Bo Xilai was stripped of his leadership posts, following the dramatic flight of his former deputy police chief Wang Lijun to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu and revelations about the possible involvement of Bo’s wife in the murder of a British businessman. In the wake of his purge, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Falungong-controlled media were rife with rumors about Bo’s relationships with senior military officers and even a possible coup attempt in Beijing. This article examines Bo’s ties with the PLA through his career, assesses the validity of various claims about the fallout in the military from his purge, and speculates about any possible implications for party-military relations.

China-Taiwan-United States

Shaping the Future—Part I: Domestic Developments in Taiwan

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, August 6, 2012

Three main themes emerged in Taiwan politics in the wake of President Ma Ying-jeou’s convincing reelection victory in January. First, in a highly contentious election that portended continuing intra-party strife, the DPP chose its new chairman, former premier Su Tseng-chang. Second, the DPP and KMT ended up in a total impasse in the LY over the issue of allowing U.S. beef into Taiwan until the relevant UN body provided a face-saving way out. And third, Ma experienced a rapid and steep decline in his public support rate, and difficulty even within his own party over his policies on American beef, utility rates, gasoline prices, and taxes. In addition, while Ma pushed hard on various aspects of Taiwan’s medium- and long-term external economic ties, the short-term international economic situation in major trading partners such as the EU, the United States, Japan, and even China remained uncertain, and forecasts for Taiwan’s economic growth this year sagged. Unsurprisingly, public opinion polls on the island reflected a sense of pessimism about the prospects for near-term recovery. This essay addresses those issues. Part II, to appear in the next issue of China Leadership Monitor, will discuss the Mainland’s reaction to Ma’s victory—and to his subsequent political problems—and to the DPP’s positioning, as well as the U.S. reaction and prospects for ties between Washington and Taipei in the period ahead.

Foreign Policy

Chinese Leadership and Elite Responses to the U.S. Pacific Pivot

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, August 6, 2012

Over the past several years, the most significant overall U.S. foreign policy action of relevance to China has been the announcement and initial follow-through of the so-called Pacific pivot or “Rebalancing” of U.S. attention and resources to the Asia-Pacific. Many observers and officials in the United States, China, Asia, and elsewhere view this policy move as an important response not only to the growing overall significance of the region to American interests, but in particular to the challenges and opportunities presented by an increasingly powerful China. The Pacific Pivot has thus drawn considerable attention and levels of controversy in many quarters, and nowhere more so than in Beijing. This article takes a close look at Beijing’s reactions to Washington’s increased stress on Asia, including its assessments of the perceived implications of this policy shift for the region and for China in particular.

The Provinces

China’s Top Future Leaders to Watch: Biographical Sketches of Possible Members of the post-2012 Politburo (Part 1)

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, April 30, 2012

The composition of the new Politburo, including generational attributes and individual idiosyncratic characteristics, group dynamics, and the factional balance of power, will have profound implications for China’s economic priorities, social stability, political trajectory, and foreign relations. To a great extent, these leaders’ political position and policy preferences are often shaped or constrained by their personal experience, leadership expertise, factional affiliation, and bureaucratic portfolio. This series will provide concise and primarily fact-based biographies for 25 to 30 possible members of the next Politburo, focusing on the following three aspects: personal and professional background, family and patron-client ties, and political prospects and policy preferences. The aim is to present a complete set of biographical sketches of all members of this supreme leadership body by the time the 18th Party Congress has wrapped up in the fall of 2012.

Party Affairs

Prospects for Solidarity in the Xi Jinping Leadership

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, April 30, 2012

It may be true, as is often observed, that if all the world’s economists were laid end to end, they would never reach a conclusion. It is all the more notable therefore that an increasing number of observers of China’s economy are skeptical that the high rate of growth sustained over the past three decades is likely to continue much longer. In the past, China’s leadership has weathered economic stress adroitly—most recently, in blunting the impact of the 2008 world economic crisis. However, the Xi Jinping leadership that is about to take the helm later this year is likely to be more diverse in its outlook, credentials, and experience. And so if projections of trouble in China’s economy ahead are accurate, then it is reasonable to inquire into the prospects of an oligarchic leadership around Xi maintaining collective solidarity and providing effective policy responses.

Political Reform

Guangdong Leads Calls to Break up “Vested Interests” and Revive Reform

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, April 30, 2012

In September a protest in a Guangdong village threatened to embarrass the province and its party secretary, Wang Yang, who is a candidate for membership on the powerful Politburo Standing Committee when the 18th Party Congress meets later this year. Not only did Wang Yang intervene decisively to defuse tensions, but he also used a plenary session of the provincial party committee to launch an attack on “vested interests” and to call for reviving reform. Guangdong’s outspokenness was quickly echoed in the pages of People’s Daily, scholarly reports, and liberal opinion. The long-term implications are not yet clear, but the revival of reform rhetoric suggests a contentious year of politics as the country heads into the 18th Party Congress.

Economic Policy

Leadership Transition and the “Top-Level Design” of Economic Reform

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, April 30, 2012

For several years, economic reforms in China have essentially been dead in the water. The impending leadership transition creates uncertainty about China’s future, but it also opens up new possibilities. Already, the discussion of economic policies in China reflects the greater range of options made possible by the impending leadership change. Recently, the need for a more forceful push on economic reform has been acknowledged publicly in ways that would scarcely have been possible a few years earlier. In addition, the fall of Bo Xilai inevitably involves the repudiation of at least some elements of the package of economic policies—often called “leftist”—he had staked his future on. These policies were inimical to healthy economic reforms, and Bo’s fall creates an opportunity for rethinking and rejuvenation of the reformist agenda. This piece traces some of the key personalities and events involved in this opening policy space. It examines some of the signals Xi Jinping, the presumptive next top leader, has sent in the policy realm. New leaders inevitably seek to stamp their mark on a new package of policies, differentiating themselves from their predecessors (even as they proclaim continuity). We can already see Xi Jinping initiating a process of this sort, though it is far too early to make any judgments about how it will work out. Finally, there will be massive turnover at all levels of the political system. This piece examines a few of the interactions already beginning to take shape between new policy agendas, on the one hand, and the coming widespread turnover of policy-makers and technocrats, on the other.

Military Affairs

The Only Honest Man?—General Liu Yuan Calls Out PLA Corruption

by James Mulvenon, Leigh Ann Raglandvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, April 30, 2012

On 18 January 2012, General Logistics Department Deputy Director Liu Yuan reportedly gave a Chinese New Year speech in which he directly attacked military corruption in the ranks and promised a “do-or-die” fight against it. Within days, General Logistics Department Deputy Director Gu Junshan was arrested on charges of profiting from the illegal sale of military property. Analysts buzzed that the combination of General Liu’s high princeling status, his pending elevation to the Central Military Commission, and the support of heir apparent Xi Jinping may make this anti-corruption effort different and more effective than those in the past. This article examines the issue of PLA corruption, reviews recent cases, and assesses the likely success of General Liu’s efforts.

China-Taiwan-United States

After the Taiwan Elections: Planning for the Future

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, April 30, 2012

President Ma Ying-jeou’s solid re-election victory on January 14, and the Kuomintang’s respectable showing in the Legislative Yuan contests not only eased anxiety in Beijing and Washington, but also laid a foundation for yet further progress along all sides of the triangular relationship. At the same time, it created challenges for Ma, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, Beijing, and the United States.

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