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.

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.

Reports

06.06.13

Chinese Views Regarding the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands Dispute

Michael D. Swaine
China Leadership Monitor
China’s behavior and rhetoric toward Japan regarding a range of controversial events occurring in the East China Sea from resource claims to naval transits and island territories constitutes a major component of an arguably escalating pattern of...

Reports

08.06.12

China’s Top Future Leaders to Watch

Cheng Li
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
The composition of the new Politburo that will take power in late 2012, including generational attributes and individual idiosyncratic characteristics, group dynamics, and the factional balance of power, will have profound implications for China’s...

Reports

08.06.12

The Bo Xilai Affair in Central Leadership Politics

Alice L. Miller
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
From a procedural perspective, the removal of Bo Xilai from Chongqing and from the party Politburo resembles the 2006 purge of Shanghai party boss Chen Liangyu and the 1995 takedown of Beijing City party chief Chen Xitong. Bo’s removal in that...

Reports

08.06.12

Bo Xilai and Reform: What Will Be the Impact of His Removal?

Joseph Fewsmith
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
The unexpected flight of Chongqing’s Public Security head to the U.S. consulate in Chengdu in February started an unexpected sequence of events that led to the removal of Bo Xilai, the princeling head of the Chongqing party committee, and the...

Reports

08.06.12

Economic Uncertainty Fuels Political Misgivings

Barry Naughton
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
Political uncertainty is inevitable as China prepares for this fall’s leadership transition. This year economic conditions are also unusually unpredictable. In particular, while China is undergoing an inevitable economic slowdown, few have a clear...

Reports

08.06.12

Shaping the Future—Part I: Domestic Developments in Taiwan

Alan D. Romberg
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
Three main themes emerged in Taiwan politics in the wake of President Ma Ying-jeou’s convincing reelection victory in January. First, in a highly contentious election that portended continuing intra-party strife, the DPP chose its new chairman,...

Reports

08.06.12

Chinese Leadership and Elite Responses to the U.S. Pacific Pivot

Michael D. Swaine
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
Over the past several years, the most significant overall U.S. foreign policy action of relevance to China has been the announcement and initial follow-through of the so-called Pacific pivot or “Rebalancing” of U.S. attention and resources to the...

Reports

04.30.12

China’s Top Future Leaders to Watch

Cheng Li
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
The composition of the new Politburo that will take power in late 2012, including generational attributes and individual idiosyncratic characteristics, group dynamics, and the factional balance of power, will have profound implications for China’s...

Reports

04.30.12

Prospects for Solidarity in the Xi Jinping Leadership

Alice L. Miller
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
It may be true, as is often observed, that if all the world’s economists were laid end to end, they would never reach a conclusion. It is all the more notable, therefore, that an increasing number of observers of China’s economy are skeptical that...

Reports

04.30.12

Guangdong Leads Calls to Break up “Vested Interests” and Revive Reform

Joseph Fewsmith
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
In September 2011, a protest in a Guangdong village threatened to embarrass the province and its party secretary, Wang Yang, who is a candidate for membership on the powerful Politburo Standing Committee when the 18th Party Congress meets later in...

Reports

04.30.12

Leadership Transition and the “Top-Level Design” of Economic Reform

Barry Naughton
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
As China’s 18th Party Congress looms, it is clear that we are now in the thick of transition. The impending transition creates uncertainty about China’s future, but it also opens up new possibilities. Already, the discussion of economic policies in...

Reports

04.30.12

The Only Honest Man?—General Liu Yuan Calls Out PLA Corruption

James Mulvenon and Leigh Ann Ragland
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
On 18 January 2012, General Logistics Department Deputy Director Liu Yuan reportedly gave a Chinese New Year speech in which he directly attacked military corruption in the ranks and promised a “do-or-die” fight against it. Within days, General...

Reports

04.30.12

After the Taiwan Elections: Planning for the Future

Alan D. Romberg
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
President Ma Ying-jeou’s solid re-election victory on January 14 and the Kuomintang’s respectable showing in the Legislative Yuan (LY) contests not only eased anxiety in Beijing and Washington, but laid a foundation for yet further progress along...

Reports

04.30.12

China’s Assertive Behavior

Michael D. Swaine
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
This essay focuses in particular on the military’s role in leadership decision-making and lower-level implementation with regard to political-military crises with foreign powers. This is a difficult topic to tackle: very little detailed, reliable...

Reports

01.06.12

Preparing for the 18th Party Congress: Procedures and Mechanisms

Cheng Li
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
By now, just about every China observer knows that the Chinese leadership will undergo a major generational change at the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in the fall of 2012. Knowledge of the leadership transition’s actual...

Reports

01.06.12

The Road to the 18th Party Congress

Alice L. Miller
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
The recent scheduling of the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th National Congress kicks off the long process of preparations for what will bring about a turnover in leadership generations next year. National party congresses are the most important...

Reports

01.06.12

“Social Management” as a Way of Coping With Heightened Social Tensions

Joseph Fewsmith
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
Over the last year there has been an increasing emphasis on “social management” as a way of managing increasing social tensions in Chinese society. Indeed, the effort the CCP is putting into publicizing this concept underscores high-level concerns...

Reports

01.06.12

Macroeconomic Policy to the Forefront: The Changing of the Guard

Barry Naughton
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
Worries continue to swirl around the Chinese and global economies, and China’s growth is slowing at the end of 2011. However, the news from China in the third quarter of 2011 was basically positive: inflationary pressures eased while growth slowed...

Reports

01.06.12

Liu Yuan: Archetype of a “Xi Jinping Man” in the PLA?

James Mulvenon and Leigh Ann Ragland
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
Liu Yuan and Xi Jinping clearly share a great deal in common. Both were born to senior CCP cadres, and are members of the elite “princelings” cohort. Yet both men’s fathers were subjected to purge and mistreatment during the late Mao era, and both...

Reports

01.06.12

Taiwan Elections Head to the Finish: Concerns, Cautions, and Challenges

Alan D. Romberg
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
Two major political developments in recent weeks have played an important role in Taiwan’s presidential election: Tsai Ing-wen’s visit to Washington and the problems she encountered convincing American officials she has a workable formula to manage...

Reports

01.06.12

China’s Assertive Behavior

Michael D. Swaine
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
In examining the origins, characteristics, and likely future course of a “more assertive” China, many analysts point to the supposedly growing role of the Chinese military (or People’s Liberation Army—PLA) in Beijing’s overall foreign and foreign-...

Reports

09.21.11

China’s Assertive Behavior

Michael D. Swaine and M. Taylor Fravel
He Jianan
China Leadership Monitor
The authors of this essay examine Chinese assertiveness concerning U.S. political and military behavior along China’s maritime periphery. This topic inevitably also concerns Chinese behavior toward Japan, South Korea, and some ASEAN nations, given...