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.

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The Provinces

China's New Think Tanks: Where Officials, Entrepreneurs, and Scholars Interact

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

As Chinese think tanks begin to acquire the “revolving door” quality that has long described their peer institutions in other countries, business leaders from major state-owned companies and domestic (or Hong Kong–based) private companies now play a crucial role in the management of think tanks, gained through the financial contributions these companies make to the think tanks in reaction to government policies that strongly affect their businesses. Meanwhile, an increasing number of foreign-educated “returnees” find think tanks to be ideal institutional springboards from which to reintegrate into the Chinese political establishment and play a role in shaping the public discourse. A close look at the formation of three prominent think tanks in the country—the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, the Chinese Economists 50 Forum, and the China Center for Economic Research at Peking University—adds a new analytical wrinkle to the long-standing and complicated relationship between power, wealth, and knowledge.

Military Affairs

The Only Constant is Change: Analysis of Recent Military Promotions

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Hong Kong press in mid-July highlighted recent shuffles in the senior Chinese military leadership involving top positions in all four General Departments. This article identifies those changes and offers biographies of the newly promoted officers, while also making a preliminary analysis of their promotions.

Political Reform

Participatory Budgeting: Development and Limitations

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Over the past five years, Wenling City— particularly Xinhe Township—in southeastern Zhejiang Province has pioneered openness and public participation in local budgeting. Although there are flaws in the reform, it is nevertheless highly significant in underscoring a clear problem in local governance, breathing life into the normally inert local people's congresses, and introducing a degree of democratic supervision. Local leaders can justly take pride in these reforms. Although there have been efforts in other parts of China to introduce legislative supervision of local budgets, there are significant obstacles to popularizing this innovation, including recent efforts to centralize control over budgets.

PRC-Tawain-United States

Cross-Strait Relations: A Confederacy of Skeptics

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Although he still faces uncertainty about where things may go with Beijing in the future, Ma Ying-jeou can look back over his first year in office with a reasonably high degree of satisfaction about achievements in cross-Strait relations. At the same time, he has confronted continuing doubts about the evolving state of Taiwan's economy as well as about the role of cross-Strait relations in helping restore the economy's upward track. The predictable negativism from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) toward Ma has not brought a concomitant rise in DPP popularity, despite Ma's tumbling popularity during much of the year. With the DPP riven by factionalism and by a lack of consensus over where the party should place its emphasis, a growing number of leading party members have picked up DPP Chair Tsai Ing-wen's charge that the party cannot defeat the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) by attacks alone; rather, it needs a positive vision and agenda. But as it struggled to come to terms on what such a vision should be—including about how to approach the Mainland—the party continued its remorseless attacks on Ma's policies.

Party Affairs

Leadership Sustains Public Unity amid Stress

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Since the fall of 2008, Beijing has faced the PRC's most severe economic downturn in the recent past. In addition, the year 2009 brings several sensitive anniversaries, each of which might prompt political agitation and protest. Nevertheless, the regime leadership from all appearances has thus far weathered these stresses with a consistent public façade of unity and discipline. This performance contrasts starkly with the failure of the regime leadership to do so two decades ago.

Economic Policy

China's Emergence from Economic Crisis

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Although the global economic crisis is far from over, China has engineered the beginning of a recovery from the initial acute downturn it experienced during the fourth quarter of 2008. Clear signs of resumed growth were evident by May 2009. China owes this rapid recovery to a vigorous response that has been a unique mixture of Keynesian and old-fashioned government planning. This has brought newly important policy actors to the fore, most significantly the new super-ministry, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The long-term implications are a more intrusive role for the government across a wide range of economic and policy arenas. Consumer spending has also grown, but the recovery on the consumer side is still fragile.

Political Reform

Social Order in the Wake of Economic Crisis

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, May 8, 2009

With the onset of the world economic crisis, China’s export industries have been hard hit, with the result that millions of “peasant workers” have returned to their inland homes. Although these returnees present a potential social order problem, especially if the economy does not rebound in the latter half of 2009, most of the social order problems witnessed in recent months appear to be a continuation of the deterioration in local governance in various parts of the country in recent years. Thus, the return of migrant workers to the countryside is not so much a problem in and of itself as it is an additional burden on an already fragile political economy.

Party Affairs

Leadership Presses Party Unity in Time of Economic Stress

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, May 8, 2009

Prominently publicized criticism sessions of the Party’s supreme political and military decision-making bodies in January capped a six-month study campaign to enforce Party discipline at national and provincial levels behind the policies of the collective leadership around General Secretary Hu Jintao. The campaign was launched in September 2008 to re-study the “scientific development concept,” which had been endorsed at the 17th Party Congress as a key element in the Party’s overarching ideological framework. As China’s economic growth sagged under the impact of the world financial downturn, however, the campaign subsequently shifted focus to stress the priority of Party unity behind the Hu leadership, apparently in an effort to squelch intra-Party debate and splits as tensions in China’s society sharpened from the economic crisis.

Economic Policy

Understanding the Chinese Stimulus Package

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, May 8, 2009

Shocked by the speed and depth of the economic downturn in 2008, the Chinese government responded vigorously with a very large stimulus package. The Chinese leadership has continued to modify the program, adding initiatives and layers of complexity, while sticking to the original headline numbers. The overall stimulus program can be broken down into three interrelated components: an investment plan, a set of funding mechanisms, and a series of industrial policies. Together, these initiatives make up a large, activist intervention in the Chinese economy that will shape the trajectory of Chinese development for a decade or more.

PRC-Tawain-United States

First the Easy, Now the Hard

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, May 8, 2009

PRC President Hu Jintao’s speech on cross-Strait relations last December laid out a major initiative for a comprehensive economic agreement, political dialogue and accommodation to Taiwan’s aspiration for “international space,” and dialogue to consider a mechanism to enhance mutual military trust that he presented as adaptations to positive changes in Taiwan since last year’s elections and as a “new starting point in history.” Debates followed Hu’s proposal, both on Taiwan and on the Mainland, that centered not only on the “what” and “how” of the six points, but also on the pace at which progress might be made. On the Mainland, some of the impatience seems to come from those who assume that whatever is left undone when Hu steps down after finishing his second term in 2012/2013 will languish for a considerable period of time as the next leader establishes his position and sets his priorities. And they fear that this “delay” will last at least through most of the successor’s first five-year term, leaving a policy vacuum in which political developments in Taiwan could bring new challenges.

In Taiwan, the principal expressions of impatience seem to be coming from President Ma himself. In addition, although the general level of public support for Ma’s approach to cross-Strait relations remains high, the concerns expressed by the DPP go across the board to include sovereignty, economic dependence, and even basic identity. In any case, if progress is to be accelerated even on economic cooperation, it would appear that authorities on both sides have some work to do to allay concerns and generate support for the quicker pace.

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