China Policy Institute: Analysis



Xi’s Remaking of China’s Political Landscape

Written by Hans H. Tung.

Xi Jinping’s first term since 2012 has dazzled many seasoned observers of Chinese politics. There were open trials of prominent political figures who used to be worshipped in China’s political pantheon. There was an anti-corruption campaign that swept across upper and lower echelons within the Chinese bureaucracy. There were also new social initiatives launched to engage newly emerging opinion leaders and tighten up the government’s control over the society. These new developments defy much of the conventional wisdom. Was it all because of, as some suggested, the leadership style of Xi Jinping that such a great transformation in Chinese politics could happen? Or, were there any more systematic and non-personal factors that could account for these changes? I believe that the answer should lie somewhere beyond the personal background and factors of Xi’s position, but in the institutional matrix of the Chinese authoritarian regime instead. Continue reading “Xi’s Remaking of China’s Political Landscape”

Welfare, Work, and Poverty: How Effective is Social Assistance in China?

Written by Qin Gao.

China currently has the world’s largest social assistance program, the ‘Dibao,’ or Minimum Livelihood Guarantee. My new book, Welfare, Work, and Poverty: Social Assistance in China (Oxford University Press), provides a comprehensive evaluation of the performance of this program. How effective has it been in targeting the poor and alleviating poverty? Have Dibao recipients been dependent on welfare, or have they been able to move from welfare to work? How has the Dibao affected their consumption patterns and subjective well-being? And, what policy lessons can we learn from the existing evidence to strengthen and improve the Dibao system in the future? Continue reading “Welfare, Work, and Poverty: How Effective is Social Assistance in China?”

Split Households and Migration Policies in China

Written by C. Cindy Fan.

The documentary “Last Train Home,” shown in many college classes on China, opens with a husband and a wife stranded at a train station among tens of thousands of migrant workers waiting to go home for the Chinese New Year. Meanwhile, in their home village, the couple’s teenage daughter and son wait for the parents to return for a once-a-year reunion. Not surprisingly, the relations between the teenagers – who were raised by their grandmother – and the migrant parents are difficult. The daughter eventually decides to become a migrant worker herself, to the disappointment of her parents. Continue reading “Split Households and Migration Policies in China”

Local Solutions for Local Conditions: China offers Lessons for Development Experts

Written by Yuen Yuen Ang

There is no doubt that China is the most successful case of poverty eradication this century. It alone accounts for three-quarters of the reduction in poverty around the world. Within a single generation, the country has morphed from a socialist backwater, poorer than Bangladesh and Chad in 1980, into the world’s second-largest economy. Yet China’s experience has had surprisingly little impact on international development. At the annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in 2016, luminaries and experts convened to debate the age-old problem of ending global poverty. As before, they tabled ambitious goals of development but China was sidelined during the discussion. A joint statement by the multilateral banks to end poverty by 2030 never once mentioned the country. Continue reading “Local Solutions for Local Conditions: China offers Lessons for Development Experts”

China’s Critical Year

Written by William Hurst.

In his Independence Day Speech, on 17 August 1964, Sukarno famously declared the start of what he called the “Year of Dangerous Living”.  In the 14 months following that speech, Indonesia was indeed rocked by violent struggles between parties and factions with competing Communist, religious, and right-wing militarist visions for its future, even as Sukarno embarked upon his most radical foreign policy initiatives within Southeast Asia and in withdrawing from important multilateral bodies and organisations.  The culmination of all this, of course, was the coup and counter-coup, beginning on 30 September 1965, that led to Sukarno’s fall, Suharto’s seizure of power, and the inauguration of his “New Order” regime that went on to hold power for more than three decades.  Contemporary Indonesian history to a remarkable degree turned on this one critical juncture.  China has faced similar moments in its recent past – 1953, 1958, 1966, 1978, and 1989 all come to mind – but the current period marks a similar inflexion point in China’s political, economic, and social development. Continue reading “China’s Critical Year”

Taiwan’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee: The Geopolitics of Transitional Justice in a Contested State.

Written by Ian Rowen and Jamie Rowen.

On 20 May 2016, Tsai Ing-wen, the chair of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was inaugurated as the president of the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan. During her inauguration speech, she announced that she planned to set up a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) inside the presidential office. ‘For the new democratic system to move forward,’ she said, ‘we must first find a way to face the past together.’ She continued by remarking that, ‘The goal of transitional justice (TJ) is to pursue true social reconciliation, so that all Taiwanese can take to heart the mistakes of that era.’ Continue reading “Taiwan’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee: The Geopolitics of Transitional Justice in a Contested State.”

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