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Military Affairs

The PLA and the 16th Party Congress: Jiang Controls the Gun?

by James Mulvenonvia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, January 30, 2003

For Western observers of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the 16th Party Congress presented a curious mixture of the past, the present, and the future. Jiang Zemin's long-rumored and ultimately successful bid to retain the chairmanship of the Central Military Commission (CMC) brought back memories of party-army relations in the late 1980s before Tiananmen. At the same time, the new crop of PLA leaders elevated to the CMC represents the present and future PLA, possessing high levels of experience, training, and education, and thus professionalism. This article explores the implications of Jiang's gambit, analyzes the retirements of senior PLA leaders and the biographies of their replacements, and offers some predictions about the choice of defense minister and the future course of Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-PLA relations.

The Provinces

A Landslide Victory for Provincial Leaders

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, January 30, 2003

Of all the personnel changes that occurred during the 16th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the most remarkable one is probably the predominant representation of leaders from China's 31 provincial-level administrations. These top provincial leaders differ from each other in their factional affiliations and occupational backgrounds. As a distinct group of leaders with identical career paths, however, provincial leaders achieved a landslide victory at the 16th Party Congress. Compared with top officials from other bureaucratic institutions in the central administration and in the military, provincial leaders obtained the largest number of seats on both the Central Committee and the Politburo.

Foreign Policy

The Party Transition: Will It Bring a New Maturity in Chinese Security Policy?

by Thomas Christensenvia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, January 30, 2003

This essay addresses three questions relating to the 16th Party Congress. First, what do the power transition and the new lineup of leaders mean for the prospect for future flexibility and new thinking in Beijing on key security issues important to U.S.-China relations: Taiwan, the war on terrorism, Iraq and the U.N. Security Council, weapons proliferation, North Korea, etc.? Second, what evidence exists of new thinking more broadly in the younger generations of Chinese foreign policy elites (35-60 years old) who are replacing the generation of Jiang Zemin, Qian Qichen, and retiring generals such as Chi Haotian and Zhang Wannian? Third, what role do these changes play, if any, in the marked recent warming trends in relations between Washington and Beijing?

Party Affairs

China's Leadership Transition: The First Stage

by Alice L. Millervia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, January 30, 2003

The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) 16th Party Congress delivered a turnover of top leaders that marks the first stage in a process of managed leadership transition unprecedented in People's Republic of China (PRC) politics. The congress brought to the party's top ranks a new generation of younger leaders and saw the retirement of the cohort of party leaders who had dominated China's politics since the early 1990s. The changes in the party's top leadership foreshadow comparable turnover in top PRC state posts at the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) in March 2003. The congress also ratified amendments to the party constitution that promise a watershed transformation of the party makeup in coming years.

Economic Policy

Economic Policy after the 16th Party Congress

by Barry Naughtonvia China Leadership Monitor
Thursday, January 30, 2003

The 16th Party Congress focused primarily on political principles and personnel issues. With respect to economic policy, the party congress understandably stressed continuity. Thus, fewer dramatic signs of future economic policy orientation have come in the aftermath of the congress than may be the case in other issue areas. In economic policy, the most important personnel choices tend to come at the level of ministers and vice ministers, one level below the top politicians chosen by the 16th Party Congress. These choices are being announced only gradually in the run-up to the 10th National People’s Congress (NPC) meeting in March 2003. Nonetheless, some important choices have already been made—particularly with respect to the financial system—and the implications of those choices are discussed in this essay. The most important signal is the promotion of the former chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), Zhou Xiaochuan, to head the Central Bank. The reassignment of economic managers is especially important because the key personnel involved represent the young, better-educated members of China’s “fourth generation,” those who began their educations after the Cultural Revolution. The senior members of the fourth generation, who have just ascended to the top of the formal political system, by contrast completed their educations before the Cultural Revolution. Some of the shortcomings of the political succession process may imply that the younger, post–Cultural Revolution leaders could begin to play an especially important role effective immediately.

Analysis and Commentary

Goldilocks and the Three [Russian] Bears

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia
Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Goldilocks has entered the Russian bears' house. High oil prices will harm growth. Low oil prices will harm growth. Only the right oil prices will foster growth.

Waiting for Sunrise

by Ying Mavia Policy Review
Sunday, December 1, 2002

Ying Ma on China Dawn: the Story of a Technology and Business Revolution by David Sheff

Analysis and Commentary

A Tale of Two Countries

by Alvin Rabushka, Michael S. Bernstamvia
Monday, November 18, 2002

China grows at 8% a year, while the IMF tells Russia, which cannot even recover from the Great Contraction of the 1990s, to reduce inflation by a few percentage points.

Down in Flames

via Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

How Japanese naval air power went down to defeat. A study of the Second World War by Hoover fellow Mark R. Peattie.

The Provinces

The Mishu Phenomenon: Patron-Client Ties and Coalition-Building Tactics

by Cheng Livia China Leadership Monitor
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

China's ongoing political succession has been filled with paradoxes. Jockeying for power among various factions has been fervent and protracted, but the power struggle has not led to a systemic crisis as it did during the reigns of Mao and Deng. While nepotism and favoritism in elite recruitment have become prevalent, educational credentials and technical expertise are also essential. Regional representation has gained importance in the selection of Central Committee members, but leaders who come from coastal regions will likely dominate the new Politburo. Regulations such as term limits and an age requirement for retirement have been implemented at various levels of the Chinese leadership, but these rules and norms will perhaps not restrain the power of Jiang Zemin, the 76-year-old "new paramount leader." While the military's influence on political succession has declined during the past decade, the Central Military Commission is still very powerful. Not surprisingly, these paradoxical developments have led students of Chinese politics to reach contrasting assessments of the nature of this political succession, the competence of the new leadership, and the implications of these factors for China's future. This diversity of views is particularly evident regarding the ubiquitous role of mishu in the Chinese leadership.