China, One Year Later

China, One Year Later

In November 2012, seven men were appointed to the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s supreme governing body. At the time, economic headwinds, nationalist protests, and the Bo Xilai scandal presented huge challenges for the regime. Would the charismatic new president, Xi Jinping, and his reform-minded premier, Li Keqiang, live up to comparisons to Deng Xiaoping and Zhu Rongji, or would “China’s Century” be over before it had begun? It still may be too early to say, but a year later the Xi-Li regime has consolidated power and support within the party. Major pushes against corruption, bribery, and graft have been made. Economic reforms, including a new free trade zone in Shanghai, are well underway, and the sharp dip in growth of the past two years seems to have stabilized. Xi has worked to repair relations with China’s neighbors, which had been tarnished under Hu Jintao.

Even so, those who hope for reforms to China’s approach to civil and human rights have yet to see substantial progress. Xi’s “Chinese Dream” policy remains vague, and income inequality is staggeringly high. Furthermore, maritime disputes and the nationalist tone of Xi’s rhetoric have made imminent reconciliation with countries including Japan and the Philippines appear unlikely.

Nearly a year to the day after the seven leaders ascended to their posts, as a part of the Asia: Beyond the Headlines event series held a with The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos; Dr. Susan Shirk of the University of California, San Diego; Former Ambassador to China J. Stapleton Roy; and moderator Orville Schell, who discussed China’s leadership transition so far—its successes, shortcomings, and controversies—as well as what the future may have in store for Zhongnanhai, China, and the world.

Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy is Founding Director Emeritus of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Wilson Center. He retired from the Foreign Service in 2001 after a career...
Susan L. Shirk is the chair of the 21st Century China Program and Ho Miu Lam Professor of China and Pacific Relations at the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) at UC San...
Evan Osnos joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2008. He is a correspondent in Washington, D.C. who writes about politics and foreign affairs. His book Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth,...
Orville Schell is the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society in New York. He is a former professor and Dean at the University of California, Berkeley Graduate...





A New Book Praises China’s Governance Model, But Overlooks Its Politics

Thomas Kellogg
On August 12, China once again met with man-made tragedy. Massive explosions at a chemical storage warehouse in Tianjin took the lives of 173 people and injured nearly 700, some of them seriously. The owner of the warehouse that blew up, Rui Hai...



Flying Tiger: Why I Turned Down an Invitation to China’s Victory Parade

Jack Edelman
I was invited to attend the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-fascist War and the Chinese People’s Anti-Japanese war this September, as a guest of a government that wanted me to represent friendship with the U.S...



The U.S. Was the True Mainstay in the Fight Against Japan in World War II

Han Lianchao
“When the Chinese people and the Chinese nation were in peril, the United States came to the rescue and asked for nothing in return. The U.S. never occupied a single inch of Chinese territory, never reaped any particular reward.”IAt 9:00 a.m. on...



Here’s What’s Wrong With Most Commentary on the Beijing 2022 Olympics

Taisu Zhang, Paul H. Haagen
Upon hearing that Beijing would be hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics, we wondered what the Chinese government was thinking. The decision seemed counterintuitive, to say the least: For one thing, it barely snows in Beijing, or even in Zhangjiakou, the...



Making Sense of China’s Market Mess

Arthur R. Kroeber
Nearly two years ago China’s Communist Party released a major economic reform blueprint, whose signature phrase was that market forces would be given a “decisive role” in resource allocation. That Third Plenum Decision and other policy...



U.S. Should Make More Public Statements About China’s Human Rights

Sophie Richardson
When China’s leader Xi Jinping comes to the United States for his first state visit in September, will U.S. leaders use the summit to address the country’s deteriorating human rights conditions?Not if the U.S. performance at June’s Strategic and...



Why I Publish in China

Peter Hessler
A couple of weeks ago, I received a request from a New York Times reporter to talk about publishing in China. The topic has been in the news lately, with the BookExpo in New York, where Chinese publishers were the guests of honor. In May, the PEN...



Hong Kong’s Not That Special, And Beijing Should Stop Saying It Is

Alvin Y.H. Cheung
As political wrangling in Hong Kong continues over changes to how the city’s chief executive will be selected in 2017, Beijing marks the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the Hong Kong Basic Law—the Special Administrative Region’s...



China’s Leftists Are Embracing Confucius. Why?

Taisu Zhang
When Jennifer Pan and Yiqing Xu posted their new paper, “China’s Ideological Spectrum,” last week, it marked the first time that anyone has provided large-scale empirical data on the ideological shifts and trends within the Chinese population. China...



Will China’s New Anti-Terrorism Law Mean the End of Privacy?

Scott D. Livingston
A newly drafted Chinese anti-terrorism law, if enacted in its current form, will empower Beijing to expand its already nearly unchecked policing of the Internet to reach web traffic and other online data flows emanating from both domestic and...