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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Geopolitics Watch: Xi Summoning Kim to Beijing a Goodwill Gesture to America

Per Chinese state media reports on Jan. 8, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited Beijing at the request of Xi Jinping. The reports say that Kim will be in China from Jan. 7 to Jan. 10. This is Kim’s fourth trip to China since taking office. The backdrop: 1. Kim Jong Un spent his …

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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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No ‘Middle Way’ in US-China Struggle — China Must Change

By Joseph Bosco Now that China and the United States are embroiled a trade war, can they avoid a real war? That is the question that arises from recent headlinesabout tensions between the two. The answer is yes. Each has the capacity to head off the escalating crisis and prevent armed conflict. All it would take …

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Geopolitics Watch: Why Trump Cited National Security as a Reason to Intervene in the Huawei Case

Summary: Most commentary on Trump raising the possibility of intervening in the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is focused on the trade aspect. We argue that national security, and not trade, is likely the main motivation behind Trump’s intervention remark. The 90-day trade talks, if successful, will tackle U.S. national security concerns at its …

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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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Geopolitics Watch: Did Trump or Xi Win at the G20?

Summary The U.S. and the PRC paused the escalation of the trade conflict at the G20 in Argentina. While Xi Jinping was likely seeking a pause going into the G20, the concessions which he made to gain the pause suggests a “pyrrhic victory.” Trump and the U.S. appear to have gained more than losing with …

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Influence Watch: The CCP is Hijacking the Discourse on Chinese Influence

Summary The CCP is using the Red Matrix, United Front work, and other types of influence operations to “seize discourse power” on the topic of Chinese influence. We identify three broad strategic lines which the CCP is pursuing to hijack the discourse on Chinese influence: 1) Shut down discussion on Chinese influence by coercion or …

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