Politics Watch: Xi’s Call to Build ‘High-quality Officials’ Signals a Fresh Round of Purges

On Jan. 16, the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee-published ideological journal “Qiushi” carried an article by Xi Jinping on “building a contingent of high-quality officials.” The article is based on a speech Xi gave at the Politburo’s “democratic life meeting” on Nov. 26, 2018. Noteworthy points in the Qiushi article include: Cadres must first be …

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Politics Watch: Decoding the Convening of Enlarged Military Meetings

Provincial military commands in several provinces held enlarged plenary meetings this week, according to state media reports on Jan. 10. The key points relayed in those enlarged meetings include: 1. Pass on and learn from the “spirit of the Central Military Commission enlarged meeting.” 2. Pass on the spirit of the enlarged meetings of the …

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Politics Watch: CCP Fourth Plenum Could be Held at the End of January

Several Chinese provincial-level governments (Beijing, Chongqing, Hainan, Yunnan, Fujian, and others) recently rescheduled their local “Two Sessions” meetings. The reschedules, some of which were made with only 10 days to go before the provincial “Two Sessions,” avoided the period from Jan. 19 to Jan. 24. Local governments usually hold their annual provincial-level “Two Sessions” conclave …

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Politics Watch: Xi’s Reform Anniversary Speech Signals Political Crisis in China

Summary: We believe that Xi Jinping presently faces critical levels of political risk given the political and economic problems in the regime. Xi’s reform anniversary speech is an effort to have his cake and eat it too. The markets may not be convinced by his paradoxical messaging. Updated on 12/18/2018 On Dec. 16, state mouthpiece …

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Politics Watch: Xi’s Delivery of Trade Commitments Hinges on the CCP Factional Struggle

Summary: Xi Jinping “crossed the Rubicon” by backtracking from tough official rhetoric and making personal commitments to President Donald Trump in Argentina. To deliver on his commitments to Trump, Xi must resolve the CCP factional struggle, the chief factor blocking the implementation of Xi’s policies and the core problem in Chinese elite politics. Based on …

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Risk Watch: Rising Business Failure and Unemployment Heighten Political Risk in China

Summary: Recently released official data shows that China’s economy performed poorly across the board in October. Several key indicators hit new lows and fell below market expectations. Many Chinese businesses, including prominent firms, have failed since the start of 2018. The Chinese authorities claim that unemployment has been kept stable at about 4 percent. Non-government …

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Politics Watch: Xi Consolidates Control Over Spy Apparatus with Local Gov’t Reforms

Provincial governments in China have been recently announcing that the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee has approved their plans for institutional reform. According to the plans that have been released, jurisdiction over provincial, county, and city national security agencies have been transferred from local governments to the National Security Commission (NSC) members in local Party …

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Politics Watch: Peking University’s New Party Secretary is on ‘Work Probation’

On Oct. 23, Peking University appointed Qiu Shuiping as its new Party secretary. Qiu was formerly the chief justice of the high court in Shanxi Province, and previously served for a year as Party secretary of the Beijing bureau of the Ministry of State Security. Because of Qiu’s intelligence background, some observers believe that his …

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Politics Watch: Decoding Xi’s ‘Subdued’ Southern Tour

Xi Jinping went on an inspection tour in Guangdong from Oct. 22 to Oct. 25. At each stop, he signaled strongly that China should continue to reform and open up. On the last day of his trip, Xi visited the Southern Theater Command headquarters in Guangzhou. Observers have noted that mainland media was oddly quiet …

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The CCP Fourth Plenum and Geopolitics

The Chinese Communist Party traditionally holds the plenary session (an important all-hands meeting of the Central Committee) after the annual Two Sessions political conclave around the September to November period. Usually, the plenums are announced weeks or even months ahead of their convening. Oddly, the CCP has not yet announced anything on the Fourth Plenum …

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