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Military Affairs

Reduced Budgets, the "Two Centers," and Other Mysteries of the 2003 National People's Congress

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

As explored in my submission to CLM 3, the National People's Congress (NPC) meetings, particularly the publicized People's Liberation Army (PLA) delegate discussion sessions, are a consistently useful barometer of the state of party-army relations. This article examines the makeup of the military delegation, outlines the issues highlighted in PLA leaders' speeches and delegates' comments, and analyzes the announced defense budget. Special attention is paid to an article in Liberation Army Daily by Wang Wenjie, particularly a cryptic comment made by a PLA delegate about the problems posed by "two centers," which some analysts took as a criticism of the divided leadership of Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin.

Foreign Policy

PRC Foreign Relations after the National People's Congress: Iraq, North Korea, SARS, and Taiwan

by Thomas Christensenvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

The National People's Congress (NPC) in mid-March produced all the major leadership outcomes predicted by experts on Chinese Communist Party (CCP) personnel issues: Hu Jintao, of course, became president of the People's Republic of China (PRC); Jiang Zemin maintained his powerful position as chair of the Central Military Commission (CMC); and, as long anticipated, Li Zhaoxing replaced Tang Jiaxuan as foreign minister. Tang was promoted to replace Qian Qichen in the role of party overseer of Chinese foreign policy, while trade negotiator Wu Yi will handle the trade portfolio and advise Tang. This lineup is exactly what was predicted by my interlocutors in Beijing in January. Although the NPC followed predicted paths, this outcome does not mean the event was unimportant to PRC foreign policy. On the contrary, China's behavior on the international stage has changed significantly since the NPC on two key issues for U.S.-China relations and China's role in the region: North Korea and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Although neither problem is close to being solved permanently, China adopted an about-face on both issues in the weeks after the NPC ended and the U.S.-led war in Iraq began. The military overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime in Baghdad and the passing of the NPC were, arguably, the two most important determinants of the new trends. Relations with Taiwan have been affected by Iraq, North Korea, SARS, and electoral politics in Taipei. Release of the anticipated "assessment" of cross-Strait relations—allegedly a road map for how to pursue gradually the development of direct air, shipping, and communications links (the "three links") across the Taiwan Strait—has been delayed by some combination of international and domestic factors relating to the March 2004 Taiwan presidential elections (for discussion of the assessment, see my entry in CLM 6).

Economic Policy

Government Reorganization: Liu Mingkang and Financial Restructuring

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, July 30, 2003

The Chinese government was in the midst of a major reorganization when the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic exploded upon Beijing. That reorganization will go forward, but the suspension of much government activity because of SARS highlights the fact that this ongoing reorganization is still far from complete. The long gestation reflects the powerful competing interests that are at stake. This article examines the creation of one new agency, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), and discusses the qualifications and personality of its head, Liu Mingkang. It uses the case of Liu to illustrate the emergence of a new kind of economic technocrat in China.

China's Air-Power Puzzle

by Jacqueline A. Newmyervia Policy Review
Sunday, June 1, 2003

The cultural roots of Beijing’s preference for missiles over planes

Economic Policy

The Emergence of Wen Jiabao

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Wen Jiabao is not yet formally premier of China, but he has been acting as premier since December. Evidence is accumulating that Wen will present a large-scale government reorganization plan to the National People's Congress (NPC) in March 2003. Wen is making a fast start and intends to make his mark on China's government. This diligence suggests that Wen will try to generate significant forward momentum on further economic reform within calendar year 2003.

Military Affairs

To Get Rich Is Unprofessional: Chinese Military Corruption in the Jiang Era

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Corruption among Chinese officers and enlisted personnel continues to be a point of tension between civilian and military elites in China. While the level of corruption reached its apex during the late 1980s and early 1990s, affectionately known as the "go-go" years of PLA, Inc., the repercussions of the center's decision in 1998 to divest the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of its commercial operations are still being felt in the system. For the first time, investigators and prosecutors from outside the military apparatus were given the authority to probe and pursue PLA malfeasance, and many in the military felt that the civilians pursued their assignment with far too much vigor and tenacity. This animosity was further exacerbated by reports of PLA complicity in the massive Yuanhua scandal in Xiamen and by the public prosecution of former General Staff Department intelligence chief General Ji Shengde on multiple counts of corruption. This paper analyzes PLA corruption since Tiananmen, with special emphasis on the civil-military aspects of the issue. The first section outlines the course and character of PLA corruption since 1990, as well as efforts by the military and civilian leadership to stamp it out. Particular attention is paid to the divestiture process in 1998, as well as the Yuanhua and Ji Shengde investigations. The article then concludes with an evaluation of the implications of these trends for Chinese civil-military relations and offers predictions for the future.

Political Reform

China's Domestic Agenda: Social Pressures and Public Opinion

by Joseph Fewsmithvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

In the months since he has taken over as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Hu Jintao has focused on domestic issues. Indeed, recent interviews in China suggest that some foreign policy specialists are concerned that Hu's domestic interests will distract him from important foreign policy issues. In any event, a recently published survey of social trends in China outlines the depth of the problems facing the Chinese government. These are not short-term or easily handled problems; they are rooted in the demography of China and in the long-term separation between urban and rural areas. Public opinion surveys suggest that China's most vulnerable do indeed feel worried about the future. Nevertheless, the same surveys show that a sizable majority of Chinese is cautiously optimistic about the future. Such assessments of the future appear to give the government a window of opportunity for addressing the social pressures it faces.

Foreign Policy

Optimistic Trends and Near-term Challenges: Sino-American Security Relations in Early 2003

by Thomas Christensenvia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

In the last edition of China Leadership Monitor, I explored the ways in which the leadership transition to the "fourth generation" of Chinese leaders might possibly affect Sino-American security relations in the future. At the time (late December 2002), it was difficult to draw very many conclusions, particularly since I had not visited China after the Crawford summit and the 16th Party Congress. I subsequently traveled with a Harvard entourage to Taipei, Shanghai, and Beijing in January to interview government elites, government and nongovernment think-tank scholars, and university academics. The main topic of our discussions was relations across the Taiwan Strait, but we also discussed other issues related to U.S.-China security relations, especially questions regarding North Korea, arms proliferation, and Iraq.

Party Affairs

Hu Leadership Focuses on Compassionate Conservative Governance

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

The four-month period between the 16th Party Congress held in November 2002 and the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) scheduled to open in March 2003 is transitional. The senior party leaders around Jiang Zemin who retired from their party positions are serving out the waning months of their terms in top posts of the People's Republic of China (PRC) state hierarchy, awaiting full retirement at the NPC. Meanwhile, the younger leaders around new party General Secretary Hu Jintao who succeeded them on the party Politburo await accession to the top state posts at the NPC. Despite the transitional nature of the pre-NPC period, the new party leaders have already begun work in roles that suggest the overall priorities of the new leadership. In particular, Hu Jintao has been at the center of efforts to present the new leadership as focused on the plight of those left behind in China's prosperity, on clean government and the rooting out of corruption, on the rule of law, and on greater transparency in leadership workings.

Bring the Troops Home?

by Richard V. Allenvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 30, 2003

South Korea may soon have to decide whether it wishes to stand with the United States, which is responsible for much of Seoul’s prosperity, or stand alone instead. By Hoover fellow Richard V. Allen.

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