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., 8 / 17 / 2019
E.g., 8 / 17 / 2019

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China-Taiwan-United States

Cross-Strait Relations: Setting the Stage for 2012

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Various developments throughout the latter half of 2010 and the early weeks of 2011 have begun to set the stage for changes in both Taiwan and on the Mainland leading up to 2012. Despite the remarkable improvement in cross-Strait relations over the past 32 months, potentially clashing policy trends will test the durability of what has been achieved. This essay addresses the political situation in Taiwan in recent months, including the jockeying for position in terms of Mainland policy, in the context of the PRC’s own efforts to nudge things toward more explicit acceptance of “one China” while seeking to win hearts and minds on the island. It also touches on emerging issues that will likely grow in importance for cross-Strait relations over the next year.

Foreign Policy

China’s Assertive Behavior—Part One: On “Core Interests”

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The single most dominant theme in Sino-U.S. relations of the past year or more has been the emergence of a more “assertive China.” This article assesses whether, to what extent, and in what manner Beijing is becoming more assertive in several major areas of relevance to the United States. These are: first, in defining and promoting the concept of “core interests”; second, with regard to U.S. political and military behavior along China’s maritime periphery; third, concerning a variety of economic, trade, and finance issues, from so-called indigenous innovation to global standards regarding reserve currencies; and fourth, with regard to several issues related to international security, from counter-proliferation to climate change.

The Provinces

China’s Midterm Jockeying: Gearing Up for 2012—Part 3: Military Leaders

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, June 28, 2010

The PRC’s civilian-military relationship has always been a central concern among China watchers. Although the political leadership’s control over the military has not been challenged in the last two decades, several factors—a possibly ineffective civilian collective leadership, growing social tensions and public protests, and China’s great power aspirations amid a rapidly changing global environment—may all enhance the military’s influence and power in the years to come. The upcoming political succession in 2012 is expected to involve a large-scale turnover in both the civilian and military leadership. Based on in-depth analysis of the PRC’s 57 currently highest-ranking military officers, this essay aims to address the following important questions: Who are the most likely candidates to become the military’s top leadership at the 18th Party Congress? What are the group characteristics of these rising stars in the Chinese military? What can an analysis of the professional backgrounds and political networks of China’s top officers reveal about the new dynamics between civilian and military elites and the possible challenges that lie ahead?

Party Affairs

The 18th Central Committee Politburo: A Quixotic, Foolhardy, Rashly Speculative, but Nonetheless Ruthlessly Reasoned Projection

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, June 28, 2010

The 18th Party Congress, expected to convene in the fall of 2012, will see a turnover of leadership generations on a scale equaling that at the 16th Party Congress in 2002. Predicting changes in China’s top leadership has always been notoriously hazardous to the reputations of those who undertake it. Nevertheless, incremental institutionalization of leadership processes over the past two decades may offer a surer foundation for such predictions. This article projects what the 18th Central Committee leadership may look like based on the logic of institutionalization.

Political Reform

Institutional Reforms in Xian’an

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, June 28, 2010

Like many agricultural areas of the interior, Xian’an district in Hubei Province faced enormous problems from growing numbers of bureaucratic offices, increasing numbers of cadres, escalating debt, and financial malfeasance. Beginning in 2000, a new Party secretary, Song Yaping, began drastic measures to reduce the size of the cadre force and restructure local government. With strong political backing and a forceful personality, Song appears to have been largely successful, though his reforms remain controversial. The bigger question is whether the model adopted in Xian’an can be spread to other areas, and the answer to that appears to be negative.

Economic Policy

The Turning Point in Housing

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, June 28, 2010

China reached an important turning point in housing policy on April 17, 2010. Policy shifted from stimulating growth to controlling speculative demand for housing, as well as increasing the supply of affordable housing. The central government has pushed the policies on reluctant local government officials, who are dependent on land-sales revenues and closely intertwined with real estate interests. Despite the tensions in implementation, central government commitment to the policy turn appears strong, and it is likely it will be sustained.

Military Affairs

Party-Military Coordination of the Yushu Earthquake Response

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, June 28, 2010

On 14 April 2010, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China’s southern Qinghai Province. The quake killed over 2,000 people and destroyed most of the buildings in the area. As in other recent Chinese natural disasters, such as the May 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan Province, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army was mobilized to lead rescue and recovery operations. This article examines the organization of the response effort, and assesses its implications for party-military relations.

China-Taiwan-United States

Ma at Mid-Term: Challenges for Cross-Strait Relations

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, June 28, 2010

In his inaugural address in May 2008, Ma Ying-jeou laid out a vision for cross-Strait relations that was at once ambitious but also grounded in the reality of Taiwan’s political divisions. He set out a complex formula on the question of Taiwan’s status that he felt he could both defend domestically and still use to establish common ground to bring progress across the Strait as well as greater international space. And underlying the substance, he adopted an approach that was almost assured of achieving some success, if only because it was sharply different from that of his predecessor and eschewed all ambition to “declare independence.” But there was—and is—no certainty regarding how far cross-Strait relations can go based on this approach alone. After providing some assessment of recent developments, including ECFA, Taiwan politics, and the current issues in U.S.-PRC relations regarding Taiwan, this essay steps back for a moment to assess how Ma has done with respect to his inaugural vision and to suggest some factors that will affect how much more progress he can make over the remainder of this term.

Foreign Policy

Beijing’s Tightrope Walk on Iran

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, June 28, 2010

In dealing with the Islamic Republic of Iran, as with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Beijing confronts yet another exquisite dilemma. As with North Korea, the Chinese leadership must walk a diplomatic and political tightrope in its policies toward Tehran, in this instance seeking to maintain increasingly lucrative economic and strategically useful political ties to a major power and friend in a critical region of the world. At the same time, it must support international efforts to sustain the global nonproliferation regime, prevent the further destabilization of a highly volatile and critical region, and avoid antagonizing Washington and other key powers. This essay first examines China’s interests and policies toward Iran, especially as they affect the United States. It then takes a close look at the lines of apparent debate within China on the Iran nuclear issue and Chinese policy.

Foreign Policy

Perceptions of an Assertive China

by Michael D. Swainevia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

During the past two years, and particularly since China’s quick and strong recovery from the global recession, the long-discussed topic of China’s rise has come to be dominated by a new theme among both Chinese and foreign observers: The image of the supposedly cautious, low-profile, responsibility-shirking, free-riding Beijing of the past giving way to one of a more confident, assertive (some say arrogant), anti–status quo power that is pushing back against the West, promoting its own alternative (i.e., restrictive or exclusionary) norms and policies in many areas, and generally seeking to test the leadership capacity of the United States. This essay examines the features of the discussion in the West, and among many Chinese, regarding the notion of a more assertive China. It attempts to answer several questions: How is assertiveness defined or understood among Western and Chinese observers? What are the main manifestations or expressions of Chinese assertiveness? What is driving such assertiveness, in the views of both Western and Chinese observers? What are the lines of debate over this issue in China and the West, if any? What are the perceived implications of Chinese assertiveness for the future of the international system and Sino-Western relations?

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