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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E.g., 9 / 17 / 2019

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Political Reform

The Political Implications of China’s Growing Middle Class

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 16, 2007

China’s middle class has developed rapidly over the past three decades. If one assumes that there was no one, or at least very few people, who could be considered middle class in 1978, there are now probably around 50 million people who can be considered middle class. Although the emergence of such a group in three decades is impressive, given the size of China’s population, it will be many years until we can speak of China as a middle-class society. In the meantime, despite indications that the middle class is more participatory than their economically less well off neighbors, there is no indication that the middle class—much less the wealthy—desires to challenge the political status quo. The fact that many more people identify themselves as middle class than can be reasonably classified as such by sociological criteria indicates that large swaths of Chinese society identify with middle-class aspirations. Alongside many fissiparous tendencies in China, this is one trend that suggests social cohesion.

PRC-Tawain-United States

Election 2008 and the Future of Cross-Strait Relations

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 16, 2007

With the nomination of Frank Hsieh Chang-ting as the Democratic Progressive Party presidential candidate to oppose Kuomintang candidate Ma Ying-jeou in Taiwan’s March 2008 presidential election, and with the PRC gearing up greater pressure on Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, this is an appropriate moment to think about how the election will affect cross-Strait relations. The policies adopted by the next Taipei administration will, of course, be decisive in determining the course of those relations over the next four or even eight years. However, the campaign itself will shape both the way the next administration approaches cross-Strait issues and the mindset of Mainland policymakers as they prepare to deal with the new Taiwan leadership. It will also condition U.S. attitudes toward the winner.

Military Affairs

Make Talk Not War: Strategic U.S.-China Military-to-Military Exchanges in the First Half of 2007

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 16, 2007

Following key leadership transitions in the Pentagon and Pacific Command (PACOM), strategic military-to-military meetings have continued apace in 2007 with visits to China by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Pace and PACOM Commander Admiral Keating; reciprocal visits by PLA Navy Commander Admiral Wu Shengli to the United States; and an exchange between Deputy Chief of the General Staff Zhang Qinsheng and DoD leaders at the Shangri-la Dialogue in Singapore, where China announced that it would finally agree to a military hotline. While the regular conduct of these exchanges is a net positive for strategic U.S.-China relations, the externals highlight persistent tension and misperceptions about intent and capabilities. Further, the lack of demonstrable progress in some spheres, such as the establishment of any “incidents at sea” protocol under the Military Maritime Cooperative Agreement framework or the scheduling of Second Artillery Commander Jing Zhiyuan’s reciprocal visit to the United States, requires analysis and explanation.

Party Affairs

Hu Jintao and the PLA Brass

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Monday, July 16, 2007

The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) national congress that will meet in the fall of this year is likely to register only limited changes among China’s top military leadership. These changes will only slightly alter the representation of the military on the Party’s top decision-making body, the Politburo, and the make-up of the key military policy body, the Central Military Commission (CMC).

Party Affairs

Hu Jintao and the Sixth Plenum

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Chinese Communist Party Central Committee’s Sixth Plenum in October last year passed a long resolution endorsing a major theme—building a “socialist harmonious society”—that the Hu Jintao leadership has pressed since 2004. The plenum also deferred addressing party and army leadership personnel issues that it might have taken up. In so doing, the plenum’s proceedings provided new clues to the ambiguities of Hu Jintao’s power in the current party leadership.

Military Affairs

Rogue Warriors?—A Puzzled Look at the Chinese ASAT Test

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The disturbing bureaucratic silence that followed China’s recent anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons test for several days is but the latest in a string of incidents raising questions about civilian control and oversight over the Chinese military. Though few data exist about the internal machinations of the Beijing authorities, this article surveys possible explanations for the apparent lack of bureaucratic coordination on the issue and assesses the potential implications for Chinese civil-military relations.

The Provinces

Was the Shanghai Gang Shanghaied?—The Fall of Chen Liangyu and the Survival of Jiang Zemin’s Faction

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The fall from power of Chen Liangyu and the persistence in power of most members of the Shanghai Gang suggest that something new is afoot in Chinese elite politics. While this development seems difficult to understand using a traditional factionalism model of zero-sum games in Chinese politics, it is less confusing if interpreted in the context of newly emerging norms of “inner-Party bipartisanship,” a hypothesis that notes that leaders associated with the coastal development strategy pursued by Jiang Zemin and Zeng Qinghong are now increasingly being balanced, but not overthrown, by those affiliated with the Chinese Communist Youth League networks headed up by Party secretary-general Hu Jintao. An examination of the fall of Chen suggests some of the new rules that are emerging to guide the country’s top leaders as they seek to manage inner-Party political conflict while maintaining rapid growth, social stability, and one-party rule.

PRC-Tawain-United States

Politicians Jockey for Position in Taiwan’s 2007–2008 Elections, While Japan Jockeys for Position Across the Strait

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Taiwan politics continued their tumultuous course during the final months of 2006 and early 2007. Former Taipei mayor Ma Ying-jeou’s indictment on embezzlement charges in mid-February, coupled with Ma’s subsequent announcement that he would run for president even though he was stepping down as KMT chairman, overshadowed much else in its immediate aftermath. President Chen Shui-bian’s political and personal problems now share a crowded spotlight not only with Ma’s fate but with important mayoral elections on 9 December, the results of which will importantly shape the fierce political competition culminating in the legislative and presidential elections a year hence. In the meantime, Chen remains committed to bringing about constitutional reform before he leaves office in May 2008, and among the options he has toyed with are some that could spell further trouble in Taipei’s relations with both Washington and Beijing.

Over the same period, the development of Tokyo’s policies toward the Mainland and Taiwan are becoming factors in both cross-Strait relations and Taiwan’s highly competitive politics. While no administration in Tokyo will abandon the “one China” policy yet, there is increasing public and political support in Japan for Taiwan’s democratization process. From Taipei’s viewpoint, this trend meshes well with a rising desire in Japan to maintain the cross-Strait status quo as a hedge against the ongoing, and substantial, modernization of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). For its part, while Sino-Japanese relations have improved in recent months, Beijing lacks full trust in the “commitment” by Prime Minister Abe to resolve the Yasukuni Shrine issue and worries about the limits of Tokyo’s ambitions in respect to Japan’s security role in general, and toward Taiwan in particular.

Economic Policy

The Assertive Center: Beijing Moves Against Local Government Control of Land

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Over the past year there have been numerous signs of an increasingly assertive central government in China. Now, Beijing has promulgated a series of measures that aim to change dramatically the way urban land markets work, curtailing local government discretion, and greatly increasing central government oversight. These measures strike directly at the most important single source of power and income for local government officials. Combined with the fall of Shanghai Party secretary Chen Liangyu, these actions indicate a significant shift in the balance of political power in China away from local governments and toward the center.

Political Reform

Assessing Social Stability on the Eve of the 17th Party Congress

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Recent data on overall public opinion in China make one fairly optimistic about the state of Chinese society. Incomes are up, trust in the central government is high, and many aspects of government are seen as fair. But when one looks more closely at the issues closest to people—health care, social security, and local government—then the potential for social unrest looks significantly greater. This is particularly true when one looks at the effect income has on opinion.

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