cp.brief • exploratory analysis

Seven Chinas

Most international relations scholars examine China through one or another version of realism or liberalism. David Kelly offers an alternative approach that examines the nature of Chinese identity—or, rather, Chinese identities (plural)—and how they exhibit themselves in Chinese foreign policy.

cp.positions • audit of shifts across sectors • alternating weeks economy/governance

Beijing has published its first ever Arctic policy white paper. It firmly stakes a claim to take direct part in Arctic governance as a ‘near-Arctic state’ whose interests are impacted by activity in the region. Stressing climate change, environmental protection and adherence to international law, the white paper portrays Beijing as entitled, given its capacity for protecting the global commons, to develop sea routes and utilise resources.

cp.observer • monthly • complimentary roundup

january: centralising power and tightening the economy

December saw deepening Party power and Xi Jinping’s political supremacy on show again. He proposed a constitutional amendment at a top political and legal meeting following the CCP Central Committee’s second plenary session. To be tabled at the March Two Sessions, the revision will confirm a new National Supervision Commission with sweeping oversight over the public sector.

cp.signals • weekly • domestic policy movement

The central bank, finance ministry and (probably) insurance regulator will all soon see new leadership—China Policy looks at the key contenders.

cp.positions • audit of shifts across sectors • alternating weeks economy/governance

The bid to detach local governments from companies set up to enable irregular borrowing is already in trouble in early 2018. Yunnan province is bailing out a former local government financing vehicle (LGFV), Yunnan Capital, which morphed into a state-owned asset management company in mid-2016. Like many LGFVs, it proved non-viable.

cp.signals • weekly • domestic policy movement

Xi’s anti-corruption campaign takes root as a new state agency, extending its reach over a broad swatch of society. Ambitions for predictability and transparency have limits, but are worth taking seriously.

cp.positions • audit of shifts across sectors • alternating weeks economy/governance

In a personal letter, President Xi Jinping urged overseas Chinese students to be patriotic and contribute to national rejuvenation. The letter, written to students and scholars at Moscow University, appeared in People’s Daily with pledges of loyalty from Chinese student representatives in Russia, the US and Canada. The San Francisco Chinese consulate organised a meeting with local Chinese students to spread Xi’s message, calling Chinese overseas students ‘a vital force in building socialism with Chinese characteristic in the new era’.

cp.signals • weekly • domestic policy movement

Beijing got into high gear on the Rohingya crisis in the last months of 2017, one of a series of diplomatic initiatives in the wake of its Party Congress.

cp.positions • audit of shifts across sectors • alternating weeks economy/governance

The December NPC Standing Committee meeting called for stricter regulation of commercial entities that collect and utilise personal data. Real-name registration, for example, has become a pretext for online businesses to harvest customers’ data for profit.

cp.positions • audit of shifts across sectors • alternating weeks economy/governance

Deleveraging, a key economic policy theme, was not prominent in this year’s Central Economic Work Conference (CEWC), in line with softened rhetoric at a CCP Politburo meeting two weeks before. This quickly raised concerns that the resolve to fight mounting debt was waning—even CASS recognised debt as ‘alarmingly high’ and rising.

cp.observer • monthly • complimentary roundup

december: the New Era Socialist Economy With Chinese Characteristics

The annual Central Economic Work Conference, expressed a desire to ratchet up and professionalise Party regulation of the economy. Held mid-December, its main initiative, an ‘effective long-term policy intervention package’, stays close to themes laid out at the October 19th Party Congress: quality-over-quantity growth, prudent monetary policy and lowering barriers to foreign investment.