Politics Watch: US-China Trade War a ‘Deathtrap’ for CCP Politics

Li Zhanshu, the head of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and third-ranking Politburo Standing Committee member, said during a July 16 meeting of the NPC’s Leading Party Members’ Group that officials must uphold the “paramount authority,” or “ding yu yi zun” (“the highest authority settles the question”) of “core leader” Xi Jinping. Li’s choice of …

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The Rise and Fall of China’s Domestic Security and Legal Affairs Apparatus

By Janet Liu and Larry Ong In the five years before Xi Jinping took office in 2012, the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission (PLAC) was one of the most powerful organs of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Helmed by then-Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, the PLAC enjoyed an annual budget of $120 billion, …

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Risk Watch: Can China’s New Negative List Help Defuse Trade Dispute with America?

China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce jointly released a shortened negative list of industries where foreign industries are restricted or banned on June 28. The new list reduces the number of sectors restricted to foreigners from 63 to 48, and will go into effect on July 28. The sectors where …

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Geopolitics Watch: Sino-US Trade Conflict a Catalyst for Big Change in China

United States President Donald Trump stepped up a trade conflict with China on June 19 by asking his administration to identify $200 billion worth of China goods to be penalized with tariffs at a rate of 10 percent. Trump’s move was a response to China announcing retaliatory duties to an earlier list of U.S. tariffs …

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Society Watch: Truck Drivers Go on Strike as Social Tensions Mount in China

Truck drivers in several provinces across China started going on strike starting from June 8. The drivers also encouraged others in trucker WeChat groups to carry out a nation-wide strike on June 10. 大陆的卡车司机已经喊出口号:打倒共产党!大家加油啊,支持大陆的卡友。 pic.twitter.com/NfHqmT21wE — Henry Bai (@henrybai8) June 10, 2018 The trucker strikes are the latest instance of mass social unrest that has …

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Risk Watch: Tax Probe of China’s Entertainment Industry Could See Shakeup of Film Stars

Famous Chinese actress Fan Bingbing’s tax evasion scandal continues to throw up more dirt about double-contracting, or “yin-yang contracts,” and tax fraud in China’s entertainment industry. The scandal arose as a result of an escalating public spat between Fan, film director Feng Xiaogang, and television presenter Cui Yongyuan. Meanwhile, Chinese state media has been steering …

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Continued Scrubbing of Political Work Dept Hints at Instability in the PLA

The People’s Liberation Army Daily (PLA Daily) recently published two articles that called for a purge of the “pernicious influence” of ex-Central Military Commission vice chairs Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou. Meanwhile, there have been personnel reshuffles in the political work departments of the CMC and the three military branches (army, navy, air force). The …

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The Deeper Implications of China’s Armed Police Reform

By Janet Liu and Larry Ong Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s power consolidation at the 19th Party Congress and the scrapping of presidential term limits at the Two Sessions were the recent focus of international scrutiny. In the same period, two reforms to the People’s Armed Police (PAP) were passed without much fanfare. On Jan. 1, …

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Geopolitics Watch: On Xi, Kim, Dalai Lama, North Korea, and the Sino-US Trade Talks

After trade discussions between China and the United States in Beijing concluded on May 4, several geopolitical developments have unfolded which further affirm our analysis of positive Sino-U.S. talks on trade. North Korea The backdrop: May 6: A North Korean foreign ministry spokesperson was quoted by state media as saying that Washington was “misleading public …

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Politics Watch: Decoding the Politburo’s ‘Communist Manifesto’ Study Session

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo studied “The Communist Manifesto” during an April 23 group study session. At the session, Party members, cadres in government organizations, and high-ranking cadres were encouraged to study the Manifesto and the classic works of Karl Marx. The backdrop: 1. On April 16, the United States commerce department banned U.S. …

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