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The Provinces

New Provincial Chiefs: Hu's Groundwork for the 17th Party Congress

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Sunday, January 30, 2005

Understanding the kinds of leaders Hu Jintao currently promotes reveals the political and policy objectives he will most likely pursue in the future. Throughout 2004, especially after Hu consolidated his power at the Fourth Plenum of the 16th Central Committee in September, China's provincial leadership underwent a major reshuffling. Most of the newly appointed provincial leaders advanced their political careers primarily through the Chinese Communist Youth League (CCYL), received postgraduate education (usually in economics and management), and were leaders in less developed inland provinces. Their recent promotions are attributable not only to their political ties with Hu, but also to the fact that they share Hu's populist vision for China's development. Some of these provincial chiefs will be Hu's nominees for Politburo seats at the next party congress, as well as part of Hu's team to carry out political reform and socioeconomic policies in line with his perceived mandate.

Party Affairs

With Hu in Charge, Jiang's at Ease

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Sunday, January 30, 2005

Jiang Zemin's replacement by Hu Jintao as China's highest military leader at a major party meeting in September 2004 completes the process of top leadership succession begun two years earlier. Hu's orderly succession to Jiang—first as the top party leader, then as PRC president, and now as China's commander in chief—stands as the only instance of a successfully planned retirement of a top leader in favor of a younger designated successor in the history of a major communist country. It also provokes fundamental questions about how the top leadership level of China's political process works today.

Political Reform

CCP Launches Campaign to Maintain the Advanced Nature of Party Members

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Chinese Communist Party has launched a campaign to "maintain the advanced nature of Chinese Communist Party members." Although it may seem anachronistic to carry out an old-style rectification campaign in the early 21st century, the campaign is just one part of a much broader effort to strengthen the "governing capacity" of the party—the primary theme of the Fourth Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee in September 2004. Party members are cynical about campaigns such as the one just begun, but campaigns nevertheless can give the party center new information about lower-level party cadres and provide a basis for reshuffling careers.

Economic Policy

Economic Policy in 2004: Slipping behind the Curve?

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Sunday, January 30, 2005

When the Hu-Wen administration took power in spring 2003, it promised an ambitious two-stage program of administrative restructuring followed by decisive reform policies. While the first part of this program has been realized, the second has not. It would have been reasonable to expect a significant acceleration of economic reform and institutionalization during 2004. Instead, a general trend of slow and sometimes disjointed policymaking has emerged. This phenomenon is evident in the three most important areas of financial and macroeconomic policy: restructuring of the banking system, reform of the stock market, and the conduct of macroeconomic policy itself. In none of these three areas has decisive action been forthcoming, as policymakers have instead focused on redistributive policies, such as those affecting agriculture and regional development, a pattern of policymaking that presents numerous challenges and dangers.

China Goes South of the Border

by William Ratliffvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, January 30, 2005

Chinese President Hu Jintao has spent more time in Latin America than George W. Bush. What are the Chinese up to? By William Ratliff.

Analysis and Commentary

Tsunami Lessons

by Russell A. Bermanvia National Review
Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The UN was simply unable to provide the leadership that came from the representatives of democratic nations—better unilateral action than multilateral inaction.

Military Affairs

Anticipation Is Making Me Wait: The "Inevitability of War" and Deadlines in Cross-Strait Relations

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Saturday, October 30, 2004

People's Republic of China (PRC) statements asserting the "inevitability" of war in the Taiwan Strait and imposing a deadline for resolution of the Taiwan question loom larger as facets of debate over potential conflict between the PRC and Taiwan, particularly with Taipei's proposed constitutional revision in 2006 and Beijing's hosting of the Olympics in 2008 on the horizon. On the one hand, Beijing may believe that asserting deadlines for resolution of the Taiwan question through nonauthoritative channels is useful psychologically to undermine morale in Taiwan and deter U.S. military intervention. On the other hand, PRC media commentary to the contrary continues to underscore the difficult trade-offs between specificity and flexibility in Beijing's policymaking toward Taiwan. On balance, the evidence suggests that Beijing's position toward Taiwan (and, by extension, toward the role of the United States in a future conflict) has hardened since President Chen Shui-bian's reelection in spring 2004, elevating prospects of a military crisis in the next four years.

Foreign Policy

The Rise and Descent of "Peaceful Rise"

by Robert L. Suettingervia China Leadership Monitor
Saturday, October 30, 2004

A controversial formulation about China's emerging global role and responsibilities appears to have been set aside, in part as a result of leadership disagreements. The idea of China's "peaceful rise" (heping jueqi) as a responsible and benign global power was introduced into China's foreign policy discourse by Party General Secretary Hu Jintao associate Zheng Bijian in November 2003. It caught the interest of many Chinese foreign affairs specialists, becoming the subject of intense and surprisingly open debate. Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao both used the formulation in speeches in December 2003, suggesting that the idea had become an authoritative component of Chinese foreign policy statements. But Jiang Zemin and some members of the Politburo Standing Committee are rumored to have raised objections, and the leadership is said to have decided in April 2004 to drop the formulation in public statements. The concept itself has not been anathematized, however, and it remains the subject of academic debate in China. Still, it has lost much of its policy salience and some of its intellectual luster, a casualty of China's more open scholarly environment, the omnipresent Taiwan issue, and leadership jealousies.

The Provinces

Cooling Shanghai Fever: Macroeconomic Control and Its Geopolitical Implications

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Saturday, October 30, 2004

It is often said that politics is about who gets what, when, and how. Since early 2004, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao have adopted a macroeconomic control policy to limit bank lending, land use, and fixed-asset investment. They have acknowledged explicitly that this policy does not treat all sectors and provinces in the same way. While allocating resources to support the agriculture, energy, transportation, and social welfare sectors, especially in the less-developed western and northeastern regions, Hu and Wen have strived to cool off the decade-long construction fever in Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta. The fact that the central government can say "no" to Jiang Zemin's turf suggests that Hu and Wen have begun to take the offensive. Through macroeconomic adjustments and geopolitical coalition-building, Hu and Wen have consolidated their power. However, given China's daunting challenges, only time will tell whether the Hu-Wen administration can achieve a soft landing politically as well as economically.

Party Affairs

Commemorating Deng to Press Party Reform

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Saturday, October 30, 2004

The Hu Jintao leadership took advantage of the recent centenary of Deng Xiaoping's birth to lend authority to controversial proposals for reform of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that it seeks to ratify at the forthcoming Fourth Plenum of the party Central Committee. Preparations for the party plenum have stimulated more than the usual volume of rumors among Chinese of intensified leadership conflict, accompanied by a wave of related speculations in the Hong Kong and Western press. But available evidence from China's media provides little support for these speculations. Instead, the central leadership has sustained the public façade of unanimity and collective discipline that it has managed over the past several years, despite the disputes and debates over personnel and policy that may divide its members.

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