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., 9 / 17 / 2019
E.g., 9 / 17 / 2019

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The Provinces

China’s Telecom Industry on the Move: Domestic Competition, Global Ambition, and Leadership Transition

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

China’s telecom sector has been one of the country’s fastest-growing industries during the past two decades. Recently, a number of large, rapidly expanding Chinese firms have emerged to compete successfully in the global market despite heavy competition from multinationals. As the business leaders of China’s flagship telecom companies become famous within China, their personal stories are beginning to influence the leadership styles and management practices of a new generation of Chinese entrepreneurs. This paper examines the rise of China’s leading telecom firms (such as Huawei and ZTE) and the characteristics of their CEOs. Although the senior managers of China’s telecom industry do not have significant international exposure, they have not been deterred from adopting a “Go Out” strategy for expanding their business operations overseas.

Political Reform

Exercising the Power of the Purse?

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Over the past 10 years, the city of Wenling, in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang, has been developing a system of “consultative democracy” that has allowed citizens to ask about and express their opinions on subjects related to their interests, particularly capital construction, road building, and education. Over the past year, this experiment has been extended to include public discussion of the budget process—or at least part of it. In one township, this process merged the practice of consultative democratic meetings with the local people’s congress. These reforms, widely reported on in the Chinese press endorsed at high levels, are still quite limited, but they suggest an effort to make the budgetary process both more transparent and subject to legislative review by expanding the role of local legislative bodies.

PRC-Tawain-United States

Taiwan: All Politics, All the Time

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Domestic politics in Taiwan overshadow all else in the U.S.-Taiwan-PRC triangular relationship and will likely do so for the foreseeable future. Beijing, like Washington, has studiously avoided taking sides in the island’s current domestic political maelstrom, and expanded cross-Strait charter flights are moving ahead while economic relations are burgeoning. At the same time, Beijing has expressed apprehension that desperation political moves by Chen Shui-bian could generate a cross-Strait crisis and has appealed to Washington to take timely action to forestall it. Despite Taipei’s efforts to quell any American concerns in this regard, Chen Shui-bian has yet again raised the prospect of constitutional changes that would—if enacted—precipitate a crisis. Although the prospect of success of such constitutional moves remains close to zero, U.S. impatience with such unnecessary distractions has led Washington once more to ratchet up warnings to the Taiwan leader.

Economic Policy

Another Cycle of Macroeconomic Crackdown

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

During the summer of 2006, Chinese leaders focused economic policy on the danger of overheating. As it did in the 2004 round of economic contraction, policy involved a potent combination of monetary and administrative measures. However, unlike 2004, policy instruments this time have been well coordinated across financial, macroeconomic, and administrative measures, even including a slight acceleration in the rate of appreciation of the RMB exchange rate. The result is an economic policy package that is stable and consistent, but that may not be bold and flexible enough to meet the needs of the extremely dynamic Chinese economy. The recent visit to China by U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson should be interpreted as an effort to nudge China out of this extreme policy stability. Paulson’s meeting with President Hu Jintao injected some flexibility into the balance of forces that determine Chinese economic policy, but probably not enough to result in a major change at this time.

Military Affairs

So Crooked They Have To Screw Their Pants On: New Trends in Chinese Military Corruption

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Corruption is the most dangerous cancer in the Chinese party-state today, and PRC media are replete with new revelations of official corruption at every level of the system. Not surprisingly, the military vanguard of the Party continues to be plagued by the same corrosive institutional corruption as the Party itself, despite divestiture from commercial operations in 1998 and eight intervening years of focus on rapid combat modernization. This article examines recent trends in Chinese military corruption, including the Wang Shouye scandal and the current PLA campaign against “commercial bribery.” It concludes that corruption in the PLA appears to have transitioned from a major, debilitating problem in the go-go days of PLA, Inc. in the 1980s and 1990s to a more manageable issue of military discipline in the new century. At the same time, the complicity of the military leadership in hiding Wang Shouye’s extraordinary extra-legal behavior until one of his mistresses forced its hand suggests that leadership has not institutionalized anti-corruption norms. Accordingly, military leadership analysis is a key element of understanding the depth and breadth of PLA corruption.

Party Affairs

The Problem of Hu Jintao’s Successor

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, October 24, 2006

One question that the Chinese Communist Party leadership is likely to address in preparation for the 17th Party Congress in 2007 is designation of the eventual successor to the party’s top leader, Hu Jintao. Resolution of this question will challenge existing arrangements and power balances in the leadership and so spark controversy and infighting. Not surprisingly, Beijing has tightly guarded whatever discussion of this question may have already occurred and has given no intimation of who Hu’s successor may be.

PRC-Tawain-United States

The Taiwan Tangle

by Alan D. Rombergvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, July 7, 2006

On 27 February 2006, Taiwan’s president, Chen Shui-bian, announced that the National Unification Council created by Lee Teng-hui’s Kuomintang (KMT) administration in 1991 would “cease to function” and that the National Unification Guidelines that the Council created would “cease to apply.” At the end of May, in response to the political crisis arising from insider trading allegations against his son-in-law and rumors of corruption on the part of his wife and close political associates, Chen “transferred power” to Premier Su Tseng-chang and said he would refrain from any activities apart from those specifically given to him by the constitution, which include foreign and national security policy and cross-Strait relations. This essay assesses the impact of these events on the complex triangular relationship between Beijing, Washington, and Taipei.

Economic Policy

Claiming Profit for the State: SASAC and the Capital Management Budget

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, July 7, 2006

One of the most important economic issues playing out in China today is the control of state enterprise profits. State firms have become very profitable over the last several years, so there is a lot of money on the table. At the same time, control over profit is a central component in a network of interlocking issues, including corporate governance reform, fiscal reform and even social security reform. The State Asset Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) has taken major steps in 2006 toward establishing a claim on these profits and advancing its own agenda for reform of the state sector.

Party Affairs

The Road to the 17th Party Congress

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, July 7, 2006

This summer the Chinese leadership will begin active preparations for the 17th national congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), expected to convene in 2007. Party congresses are the most important public event in Chinese leadership politics, and their convocation involves long preparations that inevitably heat up the political atmosphere in Beijing more than a year ahead of time. This article projects the course of preparations ahead and suggests some of the issues that are likely to be debated on the way to the 17th Congress.

The Provinces

Reshuffling Four Tiers of Local Leaders: Goals and Implications

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Friday, July 7, 2006

Of the multitude of tasks confronting the top Chinese leadership, controlling local governments and training the future generations of CCP elites have the most intriguing and far-reaching implications. The Chinese leadership’s recent plan for a large-scale reshuffling of four tiers of local officials, combined with its ambitious mid-career training programs, indicate that Hu Jintao is concerned about both the short-term need to consolidate his own power and the long-term future of CCP rule. The upcoming reshuffling will likely provide Hu and his protégés with increased control in both the national and local leaderships, thus making them more effective at carrying out their populist developmental policies. However, in the not-too-distant future, the ever-changing domestic and international environment will likely push the Chinese political system to be open enough to allow talented young people with diversified backgrounds to become part of the ruling elite.

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