Viewpoint

04.19.18

Trump’s Incredibly Risky Taiwan Policy

J. Stapleton Roy
So-called friends of Taiwan in the United States are putting the island at risk as never before. The Taiwan Travel Act, passed unanimously by both houses of Congress, and signed by President Trump on March 16, 2018 without reservations, could...

Chinese President Xi Jinping Will Visit Pyongyang ‘Soon,’ Official Says

Will Ripley and Ben Westcott
CNN
Chinese President Xi Jinping is preparing to visit the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, an official with knowledge of the discussions told CNN Wednesday.

Viewpoint

04.16.18

Has Xi Jinping Changed China? Not Really

Teng Biao
Xi Jinping has had an eventful early spring. After he abolished presidential term limits and was unanimously elected—if it can be called an election—to serve another term in that post, Xi got the world’s attention again by holding a meeting with Kim...

One-Time Potential Rival to China’s Xi Pleads Guilty to Corruption

Chun Han Wong
Wall Street Journal
A purged Communist Party politician once regarded as a future Chinese leader stood trial on corruption charges in a case seen as part of an effort by President Xi Jinping to neutralize potential political rivals.

Conversation

04.11.18

China’s Communist Party Takes (Even More) Control of the Media

Stanley Rosen, Chris Fenton & more
China’s Communist Party made moves last month to solidify and formalize its (already substantial) control over the country’s media. China’s main state-run broadcasters are to be consolidated into a massive new “Voice of China” under the management...

U.S. Stocks Surge after China’s Xi Eases Trade Fears

David Hodari and Allison Prang
Wall Street Journal
U.S. stocks climbed Tuesday, with the Dow gaining more than 400 points, as remarks from Chinese President Xi Jinping soothed concerns about a trade war that have roiled markets in recent weeks.

What China Gained From Hosting Kim Jong Un

Oriana Skylar Mastro
Foreign Affairs
In late March, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who had not stepped foot outside the hermit kingdom since taking power in 2011, traveled to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time.

Xi Says China to Lower Trade Barriers as Beijing Files Wto Complaint against U.S.

Scott Neuman
NPR
China’s President Xi Jinping says his country will “significantly lower” import tariffs on automobiles as part of a broader move to open up its economy amid a major trade dispute with the U.S.

China-Africa Relations in the Xi Jinping Era

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
For much of the past 20 years, China’s strategy in Africa could be summarized in two words: invest and extract. Today, that is no longer the case. China’s agenda in Africa, and throughout much of the global south, has broadened significantly in...

China Elites Seek to De-Escalate Trade Tension before Xi Speech

Gabriel Wildau and Emily Feng
Financial Times
Government advisers dismiss reports of secret plan to sell off US Treasury bill.

Hopes Are High for China to Announce Market Access Reforms on Tuesday

Nyshka Chandran
CNBC
Xi's speech to announce market reforms could help heal U.S.-China trade frictions...

Viewpoint

03.31.18

Nixon in China, Trump in Pyongyang

Sergey Radchenko
On March 25, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived in Beijing in an armored train for talks with Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping, the first known time he traveled outside his country since his father and predecessor died in...

Conversation

03.28.18

Kim Jong-un Visits Beijing

Sung-Yoon Lee, Ankit Panda & more
After two days of rumors, on Wednesday March 28, the official news agencies of China and North Korea announced that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un had just completed a visit to Beijing. The “unofficial visit,” as Xinhua put it, was Kim’s first...

When Xi Met Kim: How China and North Korea Depicted It

Javier C. Hernández
New York Times
Kim Jong-un’s surprise visit to Beijing this week to meet President Xi Jinping added an element of intrigue to talks over North Korea’s nuclear program.

China Says North Korea’s Kim Pledged Commitment to Denuclearization

Ben Blanchard, Joyce Lee
Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to denuclearization and to meet U.S. officials, China said on Wednesday after his meeting with President Xi Jinping, who promised China would uphold friendship with its isolated neighbor.

How China’s Government Has Changed after the NPC

BBC
BBC
A stronger military and more power to fight corruption are among the major changes revealed at China’s National People's Congress (NPC) this year...

China Approves Giant Propaganda Machine to Improve Global Image

Keith Zhai
Bloomberg
China has approved the creation of one of the world’s largest propaganda machines as it looks to improve its global image, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Hong Kong’s Judges Voice Fears over China Influence in Judiciary

Greg Torode, James Pomfret
Reuters
As Hong Kong’s judges and senior lawyers paraded in ceremonial wigs and gowns on Jan 8 to mark the start of the legal year, anxieties over China’s growing reach into the city’s vaunted legal system swirled with the wintry winds.

Hard-Charging Chinese Energy Tycoon Falls from Xi Government’s Graces

Alexandra Stevenson
New York Times
A mysterious Chinese buyer surprised the financial world last year when it swooped in to buy a $9 billion chunk of Russia’s state oil company.

Viewpoint

03.15.18

Who Really Haunts Xi Jinping, Mao or Gorbachev?

Jessica Batke
Last week, the Chinese National People’s Congress removed Presidential and Vice-Presidential term limits, effectively allowing current President (and Chinese Communist Party General Secretary) Xi Jinping to stay in power beyond the two terms that...

Chairman Xi, Chinese Idol

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
For nearly sixty years since it opened in 1959, the Great Hall of the People has been the public focus of Chinese politics, a monumental granite block that extends 1,200 feet along the west side of Tiananmen Square. It is where the country’s leaders...

Conversation

03.13.18

When Trump and Kim Meet, What Will Xi Do?

Zha Daojiong, Sergey Radchenko & more
On March 8, South Korea’s National Security Advisor announced that Donald Trump had agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un by May. Although now-ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson previously downplayed the announcement, a summit...

Viewpoint

03.12.18

Chinese History Isn’t Over

Julian B. Gewirtz
One of the simplest and least useful ways to understand the future is to take exactly what’s happening today and project it forward, rigidly and predictably, into tomorrow. This view is more than just a form of mental inertia; it is a breed of...

Xi Jinping Clear to Rule Indefinitely as China Scraps Presidential Term Limits

Chun Han Wong
Wall Street Journal
Legislature votes to repeal 10-year presidential term limit imposed after Mao’s death.

Ending Term Limits for China’s Xi Is a Big Deal. Here’s Why.

Chris Buck and Adam Wu
New York Times
What is at stake when China ends term limit on Xi’s presidency?

Books

03.09.18

End of an Era

Carl Minzner
Oxford University Press: Since the 1990s, Beijing’s leaders have firmly rejected any fundamental reform of their authoritarian one-party political system, even as a decades-long boom has reshaped China’s economy and society. On the surface, their efforts have been a success. Political turmoil has toppled former communist Eastern Bloc regimes, internal unrest overtaken Middle East nations, and populist movements risen to challenge established Western democracies. China, in contrast, has appeared a relative haven of stability and growth.But as Carl Minzner shows, a closer look at China’s reform era reveals a different truth. Over the past three decades, a frozen political system has fueled both the rise of entrenched interests within the Communist Party itself and the systematic underdevelopment of institutions of governance among state and society at large. Economic cleavages have widened. Social unrest has worsened. Ideological polarization has deepened.{node, 45901}Now, to address these looming problems, China’s leaders are progressively cannibalizing institutional norms and practices that have formed the bedrock of the regime’s stability in the reform era. Technocratic rule is giving way to black-box purges; collective governance sliding back towards single-man rule. The post-1978 era of “reform and opening up” is ending. China is closing down. Uncertainty hangs in the air as a new future slouches towards Beijing to be born. End of an Era explains how China arrived at this dangerous turning point, and outlines the potential outcomes that could result. {chop}

Xi Jinping Says China’s Authoritarian System Can Be a Model for the World

Zheping Huang
Quartz
Chinese president Xi Jinping has repeatedly told the world that China is ready to lead on issues like free trade and climate change.

Chinese Students in America Say ‘Not My President’

Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian
Foreign Policy
The first posters appeared on a bulletin board at University of California, San Diego on March 1.

Media

03.08.18

Weibo Whack-a-Mole

King-wa Fu, Channing Huang & more from Weiboscope
China might be the world’s second-largest economy, and have more Internet users than any other country, but each year it is ranked as the nation that enjoys the least Internet freedom among the 65 sample nations scored by the U.S.-based Freedom...

Excerpts

03.08.18

Reversing Reform

Carl Minzner
Political stability, ideological openness, and rapid economic growth were the hallmarks of China’s post-1978 reform era. But they are ending. China is entering a new era—the counter-reform era.

Francis Fukuyama: China’s ‘Bad Emperor’ Returns

Francis Fukuyama
Washington Post
Since 1978, China’s authoritarian political system has been different from virtually all other dictatorships in part because the ruling Communist Party has been subject to rules regarding succession.

China Protectionism Creates Tech Billionaires Who Protect Xi

Shelly Banjo
Bloomberg
China’s tech giants will add star power to the country’s political festivities this week, paying homage to President Xi Jinping and endorsing constitutional changes for him to remain president indefinitely.

Conversation

03.06.18

China’s Military Spending

Dhruva Jaishankar, Dennis J. Blasko & more
On March 5, during the opening of the National People’s Congress, China’s annual parliament, Beijing announced it plans to spend U.S.$175 billion on its military in 2018, an 8.1 percent rise from 2017. China’s military budget is the world’s second...

Conversation

03.02.18

How Will Trump’s Tariffs Affect U.S.-China Relations?

Derek Scissors, Donald Clarke & more
Arguing that America is harmed by other countries’ trade practices, President Donald Trump said on March 1 that the U.S. will impose a new 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum. “People have no idea how badly...

As Xi Tightens His Grip on China, U.S. Sees Conflict Ahead

Mark Landler
New York Times
A few weeks after Stephen K. Bannon left the White House in August, he was invited to a dinner at the Council on Foreign Relations to discuss American policy toward China.

How the West Got China Wrong

The Economist
Economist
Last weekend China stepped from autocracy into dictatorship. That was when Xi Jinping, already the world’s most powerful man, let it be known that he will change China’s constitution so that he can rule as president for as long as he chooses—and...

Why China Is Censoring Winnie the Pooh—and the Letter ‘N’

Natasha Bach
Fortune
Chinese President Xi Jinping has had a fruitful five plus years in his current position.

Viewpoint

03.01.18

Maybe the Law Does Actually Matter to Xi Jinping

Taisu Zhang
The February 25 announcement that the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.) has proposed a constitutional amendment that would remove term limits on the office of the presidency is arguably the most significant Chinese political and legal development in...

Xi’s Power Grab Gives a Short-Term Boost with Long-Term Ramifications

David Dollar
Brookings Institution
China’s stock market and currency rallied Monday on news that the country would revise its constitution to abolish term limits for the president.

Conversation

02.25.18

Xi Won’t Go

Richard McGregor, Taisu Zhang & more
In a surprise Sunday move, Beijing announced that the Communist Party leadership wants to abolish the two-term limit for China’s president and vice president, potentially paving the way for China’s 64-year-old President Xi Jinping to stay in power...

China Hands out Free TVs to Beam Propaganda into Poorest Regions

Neil Connor
Telegraph
China is distributing 300,000 television sets to some of its poorest regions as Beijing seeks to spread its propaganda into some of the country's most hard to reach households...

Conversation

02.15.18

Is American Policy toward China Due for a ‘Reckoning’?

Charles Edel, Elizabeth Economy & more
Former diplomats Kurt M. Campbell and Ely Ratner argue that United States policy toward China, in administrations of both parties, has relied in the past on a mistaken confidence in America’s ability to “mold China to the United States’ liking.”...

“Shameless” and “Two-Faced”: China’s Astonishing Rebuke of Its Former Internet Czar

Zheping Huang
Quartz
China’s former internet czar was expelled from the Communist Party and will be prosecuted for corruption, the party’s top graft-busting agency said yesterday (Feb. 13).

‘You Are Our Lucky Star’: Chinese Media in Overdrive on Xi Jinping’s New Year Tour

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Xi Jinping has flown into one of rural China’s most deprived corners to champion his war on extreme poverty before the country’s week-long Lunar New Year holiday.

Where China’s Leaders Go in Africa May Surprise You

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
Over the past 10 years Chinese leaders have made 79 official visits to 43 different African countries, according to new data from the Beijing-based consultancy Development Reimagined. Where the senior leadership goes offers some fascinating insights...

China Loves Trump

Benjamin Carlson
Atlantic
In January of last year, around the time of the presidential inauguration, as jitters about the relationship between Donald Trump and China mounted, I regularly joined the mob of reporters at the Chinese foreign ministry’s daily briefings in Beijing.

China Detains Executive Close to Family of Former Prime Minister

David Barboza and Michael Forsythe
New York Times
The authorities in China have detained a wealthy investor who went into business with relatives of the previous prime minister, a sign that the anticorruption campaign initiated five years ago by President Xi Jinping may again be closing in on a...

Conversation

02.05.18

Is the Belt and Road Anti-Democratic?

Nadège Rolland, Tim Summers & more
During her visit to Beijing, Shanghai, and Wuhan January 31-February 2, Prime Minister Theresa May attempted to improve her country’s trade relations with China—an increasingly important partner for the post-Brexit United Kingdom. And yet, May was...

Viewpoint

01.31.18

The U.K. Needs to Rethink Its Engagement with China

Paul Irwin Crookes & Kyle Jaros
As British Prime Minister Theresa May arrives in Beijing today, where is the U.K.’s relationship with China heading? Despite a complex history, U.K.-China relations have remained a relative bright spot in China’s engagement with the West in recent...

China’s Retired Anti-Graft Tsar Wang Qishan Holds on to Top Legislature Spot to Stay in the Political Game

Jun Mai
South China Morning Post
Wang is set to take on the vice-presidency but his power will depend on what Xi Jinping needs him to do, analyst says.

‘Globalism with Chinese Characteristics’ Is on Display in Davos. but It's Not Everything It Seems

CNBC
President Xi Jinping wasn't present at this year's World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, but the impact of his speech championing globalization at last year's gathering lingered...

Conversation

01.24.18

Is China Really a ‘Threat’ to the U.S.?

James Holmes, Zha Daojiong & more
In a move presaging tougher policies towards China, the Department of Defense’s National Defense Strategy announced that the “revisionist powers” China and Russia are the “central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security.” And on January 22, Donald...

Viewpoint

01.19.18

China’s Leaders Are Poised to Strike a Blow to Its Legal System

Stanley Lubman
President Xi Jinping has escalated China’s war on corruption with a proposed new law that would expand the reach of the Party in an unprecedented manner. Under current law, two formally separate entities deal with cases of corruption: A Party...

China to Enshrine Xi's Thought into State Constitution Amid National 'Fervor'

Reuters
China’s ruling Communist Party will enshrine President Xi Jinping’s political thought into the country’s constitution, state media said on Friday, further solidifying his power following its addition last year to the party constitution.

Infographics

01.19.18

China According to Trump

Keeping up with the Trump administration’s statements on China and U.S.-China relations can be hard work. ChinaFile has just made it easier. Our new interactive database contains a growing collection of quotations from the President and senior...

How China’s Military Is Girding for Battle, and What It Means for Neighbours

South China Morning Post
Wei Shiji “died instantly” while trying to defuse a landmine in a dense forest in China’s Fujian province this month, while two comrades, Li Shoushun and Liu Shangdong, “survived the war”.

The Red Emperor

Roderick MacFarquhar from New York Review of Books
This fall, the Nineteenth Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (C.C.P.) gave proof that during his five years as general secretary Xi Jinping has become the most powerful leader of China since Mao Zedong died in 1976. Most observers, Chinese and...

Xi Jinping Calls on Donald Trump to Revive Economic Dialogue Programme

Wendy Wu
South China Morning Post
The call comes as Washington ramps up talk of taking tough action against Beijing, including punitive tariffs, sanctions and even a trade war.

China’s inexorable rise is helped by Trump’s retreat

Washington Post
The first stop on French President Emmanuel Macron's trip to China this week was, curiously, not Beijing. ...

Conversation

01.10.18

Trump on China in 2018: Lover or Hater?

Ryan Hass, Aaron L. Friedberg & more
On December 28, 2017, Donald Trump told The New York Times “I like very much” China’s Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping, adding, “He treated me better than anybody’s ever been treated in the history of China.” In the same interview, Trump also...