Behind the Scenes, Communist Strategist Presses China’s Rise

Jane Perlez
New York Times
He was a brilliant student during the dark days of China’s Cultural Revolution. He visited America, and left unimpressed with democracy. Plucked from academia, he climbed the ladder of Beijing’s brutal politics.

Trump's Visit to China Provides a Propaganda Bonanza

New York Times
#TrumpHasArrived! The Chinese news media broke out the hashtags this week as soon as Air Force One landed in Beijing, delivering both President Trump and an irresistible propaganda opportunity for President Xi Jinping of China.

While We Obsess over Trump, China Is Making History

Fareed Zakaria
Washington Post
While news and analysis in the United States continue to be obsessed with President Trump’s daily antics and insults, halfway around the world, something truly historic just happened

Ex-Spy on What His CIA Experience Taught Him about China

Steve Inskeep
NPR
Randy Phillips spent 28 years with the CIA, most recently serving as the chief CIA representative in China. He talks about what leverage the U.S. has when it comes to managing China's ambitions...

Conversation

10.27.17

What’s the Takeaway from the 19th Party Congress?

Jessica Batke, Peter Mattis & more
The day after the Party Congress ended on October 24, Xi Jinping strode across the stage of the massive Great Hall of the People with the six newly announced members of the 19th Politburo Standing Committee, the body that rules China. What might...

Why Trump's Fawning over China's Xi Jinping Probably Won't Work

John Cassidy
New Yorker
A couple of weeks ago, The Economist put a drawing of Xi Jinping, the President of China, on its cover under a headline that said “The world’s most powerful man.” In an editorial in the same issue, the editors acknowledged that China is still no...

North Korea’s Kim Congratulates China’s Xi after Congress

Christine Kim
Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent a rare congratulatory message to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday at the end of China’s Communist Party Congress, wishing him “great success” as head of the nation, the North’s state media said.

China’s Communist Party Has Come of Age – the West Should Wake Up

Richard McGregor
Guardian
The Chinese Communist party congress displayed all the qualities beloved by Leninist institutions over the ages, of deep secrecy mixed with stern pageantry, leveraged in the service of reinforcing their leaders’ inviolate right to rule.

Inside China’s Secret ‘Magic Weapon’ for Worldwide Influence

James Kynge, Lucy Hornby, and Jamil...
Financial Times
On the Google map of Beijing there is an empty quarter, an urban block next to the Communist party’s leadership compound in which few of the buildings are named. At street level, the aura of anonymity is confirmed. Uniformed guards stand by grand...

Xi Jinping Unveils China’s New Leaders but No Clear Successor

Chris Buckley
New York Times
President Xi Jinping thrust China into a new era of strongman politics on Wednesday, unveiling a leadership team without a likely successor among the six officials who will help him rule for the next half decade.

China Enshrines ‘Xi Jinping Thought.’ What Does That Mean?

New York Times
Restoring China to greatness is a central message of “Xi Jinping Thought,” and a goal that has already guided policies to build up the military.

Viewpoint

10.21.17

The Ayes Have It

Geremie R. Barmé
On April 1, 1969, delegates to the Ninth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party convened in the Great Hall of the People on the western flank of Tiananmen Square. The hall had been constructed as one of the Ten Grand Edifices 十大建築 hastily...

Viewpoint

10.20.17

Mao Wished He Could Upend the World Order. Does Xi?

Sergey Radchenko
In his October 18 speech opening the 19th Party Congress, Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping cautiously embraced the future. Eyeing thousands of Party delegates, Xi spoke for three-and-a-half hours about turning China into a “great modern...

Xi Jinping's Leninist Quest for a Dynasty Inspires Congressional Love-In

Guardian
While the explosion of sycophancy over China’s president may seem almost comical, his reign will have ramifications far beyond the country’s borders

China’s Party Congress Brings Crackdown on Critics, Nightclubs and Airbnb

New York Times
President Xi Jinping is sending a stern message to China and the world: I am in charge, and nothing can stand in my way.

Xi Jinping: China's President ‘to Get Own Political Theory’

BBC
It will be known as “Xi Jinping Thought” and has 14 principles, the agency says.

Viewpoint

10.19.17

Could Xi Jinping Stay in Power After He Retires? Here’s How Deng Xiaoping Did It

Julian B. Gewirtz
It was the worst kept secret in Chinese politics. From 1978 until his death in 1997, Deng Xiaoping was Beijing’s ultimate decider, even though he never held any of the top official titles in this period: not general secretary of the Chinese...

How Xi’s Redefinition of Deng Xiaoping’s Guiding Principle Could Change China’s Policy Course for Decades to Come

Nectar Gan
South China Morning Post
President Xi Jinping on Wednesday redefined the “principal contradiction” faced by Chinese people, signalling a shift in the country’s development focus for the years, if not decades, ahead from unbridled economic growth to better quality expansion...

Xi Jinping Opens China's Party Congress, His Hold Tighter Than Ever

Chris Buckley
New York Times
When Xi Jinping strode out in the Great Hall of the People five years ago as China’s new leader, his tight smile barely hid the atmosphere of smoldering crisis.

Viewpoint

10.17.17

Stein Ringen: ‘The Truth About China’

Stein Ringen
Democracies have found it difficult to deal with the great dictatorships. So now with China. The first difficulty is to recognize just what we are up against, and to avoid wishful thinking.In his first five years, Xi Jinping has reshaped the Chinese...

A Dazzling Spectacle of China's Totalitarianism

Stein Ringen
Washington Post
When the Congress of the Chinese Communist Party convenes in Beijing on Wednesday, the world will be served up a dazzling spectacle of power and procedure.

Delegates to Party Congress Highly Representative: Report

Xinhua
Xinhua
The presidium of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) held its first meeting on Tuesday afternoon, approving a report on the examination of delegates’ qualifications by the delegate credentials committee.

Exile Guo Wengui Casts Shadow over China's Party Congress

Lucy Hornby
Financial Times
If anyone thought that what happens in the Chinese Communist party stays in the Chinese Communist party, a determined gadfly ensconced in New York has proven them wrong.

The Communist App Store: China's Endless Apps for Tracking, Organizing, and Motivating Party Members

Echo Huang
Quartz
China’s Communist Party is getting into app development big time, with dozens of apps to educate and promote social networking among party members hitting the country’s Apple and Android app stores.

Viewpoint

10.16.17

Why Do We Keep Writing About Chinese Politics As if We Know More Than We Do?

Jessica Batke & Oliver Melton
In the coming weeks, every major Western newspaper and many top China analysts will be making strong claims about Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s political position in the wake of the 19th Party Congress. These reports will build off years of tea-leaf...

China Stands at ‘a New Historic Starting Point,’ Communist Party Says

Huileng Tan
CNBC
China is boasting of its growing economic and political development as the country comes to a standstill for the once-every-five-years Communist Party Congress.

Conversation

10.16.17

What to Watch at China’s Party Congress

Ho-fung Hung, Taisu Zhang & more
The Chinese Communist Party’s 19th Party Congress, a hugely important political meeting usually held once every five years, will begin on October 18 in Beijing. Like many events involving China’s ruling party, the most important decisions and...

China’s Tightening Grip on Tech Giants: DealBook Briefing

Amie Tsang and Michael J. de la Merced
New York Times
If the Chinese government goes through with a plan to gain board seats at some of its country’s top technology players, will that cause problems when those companies go hunting for deals overseas?

The Communist Party Ghostwriters Who Wrote the Book on Xi Jinping

Jun Mai
South China Morning Post
The call came in 2015. He Yiting, a vice-chairman of the training ground for top Communist Party cadres, was given a mission that would take the next two years of his life.

China's Xi Looks Set to Keep Right-Hand Man on Despite Age

Benjamin Kang Lim, Ben Blanchard, and...
Reuters
Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to retain his right-hand man, the graft-buster Wang Qishan, in a senior position at a key Communist Party Congress this month even though he has reached retirement age, according to a majority of people with...

Does Chinese Leader Xi Jinping Plan to Hang on to Power for More Than 10 Years?

Choi Chi-yuk Viola Zhou
South China Morning Post
The leader of China’s Communist Party, Xi Jinping, will begin a second five-year term this month. Many observers say it’s unlikely to be his last.

Why the Rest of Asia Is Worried about China's Big Communist Confab

Ralph Jennings
Forbes
Not sure whether China will be nice to self-ruled Taiwan? Wait until after the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party. What’s in store for the hotly disputed, resource-rich South China Sea, where Beijing has taken a military and technological...

Communist Party Expels Former High-Flyer Sun Zhengcai in Countdown to Key Congress

Nectar Gan
South China Morning Post
Former political star Sun Zhengcai has been expelled from China’s Communist Party and will face prosecution, state media reported on Friday – two months after his shock downfall and just weeks before a key five-yearly leadership reshuffle.

What We Know about China’s 19th Party Congress and the Possible Economic Fallout

Sara Hsu
Forbes
On October 18, China will hold its 19th National Party Congress, which will provide broad indications for economic policy in the coming years. While it has been projected that there will be significant changes among the top party members, President...

Why Kim Jong Un Is Alienating China

Blaine Harden
Washington Post
Totalitarian leaders usually don’t explain themselves, and Kim — six years in power and only 33 — is no exception. But insights into his Sino-belligerence can be gleaned from the back story of his family.

Leaving Nothing to Chance, China Increases Security, Social Control before Congress

Christian Shepherd and Ben Blanchard
Reuters
China is tightening security for next month’s twice-a-decade Communist Party Congress, cancelling police leave in Beijing, limiting tourism to Tibet, and clamping down on the spread of political rumors.

As China’s Economy Slows, ‘Business Cults’ Prey on Young Job Seekers

Javier C. Hernandez and Iris Zhao
New York Times
Some look like high-tech firms, promising young college graduates a fast track to riches. Others pose as charitable groups on a membership drive, or companies building a sales network for a new product. Tens of millions across China are signing up...

China Is Retaliating against a US University for Inviting the Dalai Lama to Speak at Graduation

Josh Horwitz
Quartz
Beijing has a lesson for overseas universities: Don’t invite speakers who oppose the Communist Party to big events.

Fugitive Tycoon Guo Wengui Assailed by Businessman Who Says He Was Framed for Crimes

South China Morning Post
China’s highest profile fugitive, exiled billionaire Guo Wengui, is under attack from a former business partner who claims Guo got him framed for crimes he says he did not commit.

China to Amend Party Constitution at October Congress

Reuters
China’s ruling Communist Party is expected to amend its constitution at a key party congress next month, state media said on Monday, in a sign that President Xi Jinping aims to enshrine his guiding ideological doctrine in the charter.

After Toiling in Rural China, ProtéGé of Xi Jinping Joins Party's Top Tiers

Chris Buckley
New York Times
Guizhou is one of China’s poorest provinces, yet its villages of rice paddies, buffalos and mud-brick homes have long been a proving ground for rising stars in the Chinese Communist Party. The former president, Hu Jintao, once ran this mountainous...

Conversation

09.06.17

China’s Communist Party Is About to Meet. Here’s What You Should Know.

Matthias Stepan, Victor Shih & more
The Chinese Communist Party will hold its 19th Party Congress on October 18, marking the end of the first term of General Secretary Xi Jinping. In a leadership reshuffle, Xi is expected to promote allies to the Party’s key decision-making body, the...

CPC Expected to Convene 19th National Congress on Oct. 18

Xinhua
One of China's most important political events, the key five-yearly congress will decide the new leadership line-up...

More Turmoil for China’s Wanda as Rumors Fly

Variety
China’s Dalian Wanda issued a stern denial Monday following rumors that company chairman Wang Jianlin had been detained by authorities as he attempted to fly abroad. The unsubstantiated reports caused stocks in Wanda’s hotel group to swoon. “Rumors...

Books

08.21.17

China’s Banking Transformation

James Stent
In this timely and provocative book, James Stent, a banker with decades of experience in Asian banking and fluency in Chinese language, explains how Chinese banks work, analyzes their strengths and weaknesses, and sets forth the challenges they face in a slowing economy. Without minimizing the real issues Chinese banks face, China’s Banking Transformation challenges negative media accounts and reports of “China bears.” Based on his 13 years of service on the boards of China Minsheng Bank, a privately owned listed bank, and China Everbright Bank, a state-controlled listed bank, the author brings the informed view of an insider to the reality of Chinese banking.China’s Banking Transformation demonstrates that Chinese banks have transformed into modern, well-run commercial banks, playing a vital role supporting the country’s extraordinary economic growth. Acknowledging that China’s banks are different from Western banks, the author explains that they are hybrid banks, borrowing extensively from Western models, but at the same time operating within a traditional Chinese cultural framework and in line with China’s governance model.From his personal experience working at board level, Stent describes the governance and management of China’s banks, including the role of the Communist Party. He sees China’s banks as embedded in ancient concepts of how government and society work in China, and also as actors within a market socialist political economy. The Chinese banking system today bears similarities with banking in Northeast Asian “developmental states” of recent past, and also pre-1949 Chinese banking.As the first account of Chinese banking by a Westerner who has worked in China’s banks, China’s Banking Transformation should be read by anyone interested in the political economy of contemporary China, in Asian development issues, and in banking issues generally. The book dispels misconceptions and provides insight into the financial aspects of China’s economic growth story. —Oxford University Press{chop}

Cambridge University Press Faces Backlash after Bowing to China Censorship Pressure

Washington Post
Cambridge University Press announced Friday it had removed 300 articles and book reviews from a version of the “China Quarterly” website available in China at the request of the government.

When the Law Meets the Party

Ian Johnson
Like an army defeated but undestroyed, China’s decades-long human rights movement keeps reassembling its lines after each disastrous loss, miraculously fielding new forces in the battle against an illiberal state. Each time, foot soldiers and...

China Puts Retired Head of State News Agency under Investigation for Graft

South China Morning Post
The retired former head ofa state-run Chinese news agency has been put under investigation for suspected graft, the ruling Communist Party’s anti-corruption watchdog said on Wednesday. 

China accused over ’enforced disappearance’ of Liu Xiaobo’s widow

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Chinese authorities are guilty of the Kafkaesque enforced disappearance of Liu Xia, the wife of late Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, the couple’s US lawyer has claimed.

China Chatbot Goes Rogue: ‘Do You Love the Communist Party?’ ‘No’

Louise Lucas, Nicolle Liu, and Yingzhi...
Financial Times
Two chatbots with decidedly non-socialist characteristics were pulled from one of China’s most popular messaging apps after serving up unpatriotic answers about topics including the South China Sea and the Communist party.

Books

08.01.17

Globalization against Democracy

Guoguang Wu
Globalization has reconfigured both the external institutional framework and the intrinsic operating mechanisms of capitalism. The global triumph of capitalism implies the embracing of the market by the state in all its variants, and that global capitalism is not confined to the shell of nation-state democracy. Guoguang Wu provides a theoretical framework of global capitalism for specialists in political economy, political science, economics, and international relations, for graduate and undergraduate courses on globalization, capitalism, development, and democracy, as well as for the public who are interested in globalization. Wu examines the new institutional features of global capitalism and how they re-frame movements of capital, labor, and consumption. He explores how globalization has created a chain of connection in which capital depends on effective authoritarianism, while democracy depends on capital. Ultimately, he argues that the emerging state-market nexus has fundamentally shaken the existing institutional systems, harming democracy in the process. —Cambridge University Press{chop}

Man Tipped as China's Future President Ousted as Xi Jinping Wields 'Iron Discipline'

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Sun Zhengcai rose from farming studies in Hertfordshire to Communist party elite. Many fear his downfall signals turbulent times in Beijing.

In China, Despair for Cause of Democracy after Nobel Laureate’s Death

New York Times
Now, the ruling Communist Party’s feverish attempts to erase Mr. Liu Xiaobo’s legacy have raised fears that Mr. Xi will intensify his campaign against activists pushing for ideas like freedom of speech and religion.

Sinica Podcast

07.19.17

Guo Wengui: The Extraordinary Tale of a Chinese Billionaire Turned Dissident

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more
The life and times of Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui reads much like an epic play, so it is fitting that we have included with this podcast a dramatis personæ to explain the many characters in Guo’s story. Scroll to the bottom, below the...

China Attacks Tycoon Guo for Client Leaks at HNA Group: Xinhua

Reuters
Exiled Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui is suspected of obtaining confidential client data of aviation-to-financial services conglomerate HNA from air traffic control and airline staff, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing Chinese police.

Books

06.28.17

No Wall Too High

Erling Hoh
“It was impossible. All of China was a prison in those days.”Mao Zedong’s labor reform camps, known as the laogai, were notoriously brutal. Modeled on the Soviet Gulag, they subjected their inmates to backbreaking labor, malnutrition, and vindictive wardens. They were thought to be impossible to escape—but one man did.Xu Hongci was a bright young student at the Shanghai No. 1 Medical College, spending his days studying to be a professor and going to the movies with his girlfriend. He was also an idealistic and loyal member of the Communist Party and was generally liked and well respected. But when Mao delivered his famous February 1957 speech inviting “a hundred schools of thought [to] contend,” an earnest Xu Hongci responded by posting a criticism of the Party—a near-fatal misstep. He soon found himself a victim of the Anti-Rightist Campaign, condemned to spend the next 14 years in the laogai.Xu Hongci became one of the roughly 550,000 Chinese unjustly imprisoned after the spring of 1957, and despite the horrific conditions and terrible odds, he was determined to escape. He failed three times before finally succeeding, in 1972, in what was an amazing and arduous triumph.Originally published in Hong Kong, Xu Hongci’s remarkable memoir recounts his life from childhood through his final prison break. After discovering his story in a Hong Kong library, the journalist Erling Hoh tracked down the original manuscript and compiled this condensed translation, which includes background on this turbulent period, an epilogue that follows Xu Hongci up to his death, and Xu Hongci’s own drawings and maps. Both a historical narrative and an exhilarating prison-break thriller, No Wall Too High tells the unique story of a man who insisted on freedom—even under the most treacherous circumstances. —Farrar, Straus and Giroux{chop}

The Dark Side of China’s National Renewal

Jamil Anderlini
Financial Times
The race-based ideas of the country’s leaders have unwelcome historical echoes.

World Asia China Cranks Up Heat on Exiled Tycoon Guo Wengui

Wall Street Journal
Beijing airs allegations involving whistleblowing businessman living in New York as subordinates are tried for fraud in unusually open proceedings.

Xi Jinping Is ‘Putting the House in Order.’ or Is China Facing Destabilizing Changes?

Washington Post
Instead of political instability, recent political science research suggests that Xi’s reforms are on track to repair an undisciplined CCP and strengthen China’s fragmented government.

Sinica Podcast

05.12.17

What It Takes to Be a Good China-Watcher

Kaiser Kuo & Bill Bishop from Sinica Podcast
China-watching isn’t what it used to be. Not too long ago, the field of international China studies was dominated by a few male Westerners with an encyclopedic knowledge of China, but with surprisingly little experience living in the country or...