Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Winter 2021 Issue 70

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Recent Chinese Views on the Taiwan Issue

Michael D. Swaine
Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Public Chinese sources affirm that the foundational elements of China’s Taiwan policy have not changed fundamentally under Xi Jinping.  However, many Chinese officials and elites regard the current situation as increasingly dangerous and precarious, requiring ever more energetic Chinese deterrence actions against both Taipei and Washington.  And an increasing number of non-authoritative Chinese sources believe that eventual peaceful unification will most likely only occur under some form of non-violent PRC coercion of Taiwan, along with the acquisition of unassailable military deterrence capabilities directed at the United States.  At the same time, public sources do not confirm the notion that Beijing is preparing to attack Taiwan by any specific date, and some Chinese sources continue to insist that time remains on China’s side, given Beijing’s growing power and influence.  Nonetheless, since Washington seems to hold a similar deterrence-centered viewpoint toward the Taiwan issue, it is fair to say that the ingredients of a Sino-U.S. confrontation over Taiwan are in place, unless the two nations can agree upon verifiable quid pro quos designed to build trust and reduce open-ended military signaling. 

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China’s Move to Greater Self Reliance

Adam Segal 
Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Reshaping the Chinese economy around the principle of self-reliance will be an extremely complex, highly uncertain, and multi-year process. The barriers to self-reliance, especially in the semi-conductor sector, are high. Still, the conflict with the United States is starting China off on a longer-term restructuring of the economy and innovation system. Success will not be measured by complete self-reliance, which is not a realistic goal. Rather, the goal will be one of degree— to restructure China’s domestic economic and technological systems and supply chains on Beijing’s own terms.  

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China's 2021 Data Security Law: Grand Data Strategy with Looming Implementation Challenges

Aynne Kokas
Wednesday, December 1, 2021

China’s 2021 Data Security Law (DSL) presents a transformative vision of the country’s data management practices to intensify domestic oversight and expand international influence. However, the law’s limitations with respect to implementation present a challenge for both domestic regulators and multinational corporations. The law’s requirement that individual regions and industrial sectors determine their own data security enforcement measures sets up the potential for competition among agencies. At the same time, its international scope raises questions for domestically focused agencies charged with enforcement and multinational firms seeking to comply with the law. This article argues that understanding the law’s broader implications will require tracing the implementation practices of regions and industrial sectors based on a case study of the automotive sector.

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The Origins and Implications of Xi Jinping’s “Common Prosperity” Agenda

Minxin Pei
Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) formally unveiled a “common prosperity” agenda in August of this year. The concept is not new.  Investigation into the origin of this idea shows that Xi Jinping has been consistently, albeit with irregular frequency, talking about “common prosperity” since assuming office in late 2012.  He personally elevated this concept to place it on the party’s agenda at the fifth plenum of the Central Committee at the end of October 2020.  Zhejiang, where he served as party chief from late 2002 to 2006, was selected by the Chinese government as a “demonstration zone” in May 2021.  The official propaganda machine launched a campaign to promote “common prosperity” in mid-August 2021 after publication of the press release of the 10th meeting of the Central Finance Commission. An analysis of Xi’s speeches and official documents on “common prosperity” shows that while Xi may be the driving force behind this agenda, the CCP has yet to formulate specific and practical policies to fulfill it.  The most challenging issues will likely be those related to the fiscal reforms needed to fund a significant expansion of social services and protection for underprivileged groups.

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The Not-so Model Minority: Xi Jinping’s Mongolian Crackdown

James Leibold
Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Xi Jinping and the party Center in Beijing are in the midst of a far-reaching rectification campaign in Inner Mongolia. The introduction of new textbooks and putonghua-medium education in Mongolian schools led to widespread civil disobedience in September 2020. Order was quickly restored, and international media attention turned elsewhere. But what followed was a systematic campaign to strengthen central party controls and Han-defined cultural and ideological norms. In this article, I unpack Beijing’s toolkits of control and transformation in Inner Mongolia, and foreground both the regional variation yet also the steady path toward Xi Jinping’s dream of a new Han colonial empire.

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CLM Insights Interview with Joseph Fewsmith on his recent book:

Rethinking Chinese Politics 

(Cambridge University Press, 2021)