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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Military Affairs

Hu Jintao and the “Core Values of Military Personnel”

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, May 8, 2009

In late 2008, CMC Chairman Hu Jintao introduced the concept of “the core values of military personnel,” extending his previous concept of the “socialist core values system” to the People’s Liberation Army. The resulting political campaign centered on the implementation of a 20-character phrase: “being loyal to the party, deeply cherishing the people, serving the country, showing devotion to missions, and upholding honor.” This article examines the origins, content, and dissemination of this political campaign, assessing its implications for party-army relations.

The Provinces

Reclaiming the “Head of the Dragon”: Shanghai as China’s Center for International Finance and Shipping

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, May 8, 2009

Throughout the 1990s, China’s official media referred to Shanghai as the “head of the dragon.” The metaphor symbolized Shanghai’s pivotal role in leading the Yangtze River Delta, the Yangtze River basin, and more broadly, China, into the 21st century through rapid economic growth and dynamic integration into the global economy. This official expression, however, has become less commonly used ever since Jiang Zemin, who advanced his career primarily in Shanghai, retired from his post as secretary-general of the Chinese Communist Party in 2002. Since then, a more balanced regional development strategy, favored by Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, has placed other major cities, especially Chongqing and Tianjin, on the fast track of economic development. Both the central government’s macroeconomic control policy for most of this decade and the purge of former Shanghai Party chief Chen Liangyu in 2006 seemed to undermine Shanghai’s predominance in the nation’s economic and political arenas. In March 2009, in the wake of the ongoing global financial crisis, the Chinese central government took another drastic turn and endorsed a blueprint to designate Shanghai as a “global financial and shipping center by 2020.” Once again, Shanghai has had a set of favorable policies bestowed upon it by those in power. This essay examines the economic motivations, policy initiatives, political backgrounds, and international implications of this new phase of development for China’s pace-setting metropolis.

Special Topic: The Third Plenum's Rural Reforms

Tackling the Land Issue—Carefully

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, January 9, 2009

Thirty years after undergoing a major revolution that de-collectivized agriculture, China is facing another major change in rural life as commercial agriculture spreads and as peasants migrate to the cities. This revolution in rural affairs, however, has been much more difficult. Cadres and peasants contend over land rights, growing income gaps between urban and rural areas fuel social discontent, and cities resist extending urban services to rural migrants. As the recent decision of the Third Plenum shows, China’s leaders are confronting the difficult issues involved, but are doing so cautiously. The Plenum decision also suggests that socially contentious issues that have boiled over in many places will continue for years to come.

Military Affairs

Chairman Hu and the PLA’s "New Historic Missions"

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, January 9, 2009

In a speech delivered on Christmas Eve 2004, Hu Jintao introduced a new set of "historic missions" for the Chinese armed forces. These missions constitute one part of a broader revision of the PLA’s "strategic guiding theory," derived in large measure from Hu Jintao’s overall ideological guidance on "scientific development." This article examines the timing, content, dissemination, and implementation of the "historic missions," which is a useful test case of Hu’s relationship with the PLA as reflected in military political work.

Party Affairs

The Central Committee Departments under Hu Jintao

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, January 9, 2009

Over the year since the 17th Party Congress in October 2007, the main working departments of the Party Central Committee have seen significant turnover in leading personnel. Adjustments in the top leadership of these departments serve to strengthen party General Secretary Hu Jintao’s hold on the Party apparatus well beyond his limited effort to do so in his first term as Party leader.

Special Topic: The Third Plenum's Rural Reforms

Hu Jintao’s Land Reform: Ambition, Ambiguity, and Anxiety

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, January 9, 2009

Amid the global financial crisis and its strong impact on the Chinese economy, the Party leadership has embarked on another land reform plan. This ambitious development plan promises to give farmers more rights and market incentives that will encourage them to subcontract and transfer land. It will also give incentives for surplus rural laborers to move to urban areas. What is the impetus behind this new round of land reform? What are the principal objectives and policy initiatives? How well are China’s leaders going to be able to handle a socioeconomic transformation of this magnitude? What are the possible negative consequences of this reform? What kind of leadership division might occur? What sorts of local versus national fissures might this new development strategy open? Will this land reform be able to significantly reduce the economic disparity in the country, thus increasing domestic demand in China’s vast rural areas? This preliminary analysis of the launch of Hu Jintao’s land reform aims to shed light on these timely and important questions.

Economic Policy

The Scramble to Maintain Growth

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, January 9, 2009

The reversal of economic conditions China has undergone since mid-year 2008 has occurred with a speed and thoroughness rarely, if ever, seen in history. In July, policymakers were still concerned with legitimate worries about inflation and overheating. By the end of October, they were scrambling to cope with an alarming economic slowdown. Given the centrality of economic growth to Chinese social and political equilibrium, policymakers returned to an intense focus on economic growth. The Chinese political system then did what it arguably does best: It concentrated policymaking resources on the most critical priority, in this case, propping up economic growth. By the time of the postponed Economic Work Conference (8–10 December), the entire apparatus of Chinese policymaking had been concentrated on the practical elaboration of a multidimensional and multiphase stimulus package. The leadership has been united on this push.

PRC-Tawain-United States

Cross-Strait Relations: "Ascend the Heights and Take a Long-term Perspective"

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, January 9, 2009

To put it in Dickensian terms, the recent period has seen both the best of times and the worst of times for Taiwan. Significant progress has been made on many aspects of cross-Strait relations, primarily in the economic realm but in some respects extending beyond that. However, the extent to which enhanced economic links will provide relief for the increasingly troubled Taiwan economy is not at all clear. Moreover, how far the non-economic gestures and signaling will go in terms of satisfying Taiwan’s quest for "international space" also remains a question mark. But, at year’s end, PRC President Hu Jintao seemed to reflect flexibility in responding to the strong desire in Taiwan for "international space" and also presented other ideas for progress. At the same time, the advances in cross-Strait relations have also occasioned considerable domestic political turmoil in Taiwan, sharpening the divide between the government and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party and exacerbating a struggle within the DPP over how closely it should tie itself to the fate of former president Chen Shui-bian.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration’s decision in early October to approve a reduced package of arms sales to Taiwan was generally well received on the island, but it led to a sharp rhetorical response from Beijing and a suspension of military-to-military exchanges with Washington. The suspension was expected to be short-lived, however—and probably will end with the inauguration of President Barack Obama on 20 January 2009. In general, both Beijing and Taipei made efforts to consolidate relations with the Bush administration in its waning days as well as with the incoming Obama administration. But even as this period closed, the PRC felt constrained to caution the United States that it is determined to protect its "core interests" and that Taiwan—along with Tibet—remains China’s core interest.

The Provinces

From Selection to Election?—Experiments in the Recruitment of Chinese Political Elites

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Are elections playing an important role in Chinese politics today? The simple answer is no. Is China gradually moving from selection to election in the recruitment of political elites? That is a more difficult question to answer. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is certainly unwilling to give up its monopoly on political power. Chinese leaders continue to claim, explicitly rather than implicitly, that the CCP is entitled to make all of the country’s most important personnel appointments. But since the late 1990s, especially in recent years, the Chinese authorities have experimented with electoral methods in the selection and confirmation of Party and government officials at various levels of leadership. With a focus on both intra-Party and people’s congress elections, this article offers a preliminary assessment of elections in China—their significance and limitations, and their impact on the Chinese political process.

Military Affairs

The Party Holds The Ring: Civil-Military Relations and Olympic Security

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The 2008 Beijing Olympics is China’s debut as a global power, and the Beijing leadership made it clear that it wanted everything to go perfectly. After the riots and crackdown in Tibet, protests around the Olympic torch, and bombings in Xinjiang, however, pressure on the security apparatus to fulfill the leadership’s wishes was intense. This article examines the role of the People’s Liberation Army’s in ensuring Olympic security, and assesses the implications of the security command structure for civil-military relations.

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