Willy’s Corner

Legal Reform in China: An Empty Ritual

The sensational trial of former Chongqing party secretary and Politburo member Bo Xilai—and growing speculation that former member of the Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) member Zhou Yongkang may be under investigation for corruption-related offences—has focused the world’s attention on Chinese-style rule of law. While senior... MORE

“Likonomics” Trumped by Harsh Economic and Political Realities

The senior cadres currently meeting for their annual brainstorming session at the seaside Beidaihe retreat are putting the finishing touches on a blueprint for seminal reforms to the Chinese economy (Duowei, August 7; South China Morning Post, August 5; Xinhua, August 5). Given the signals... MORE

Rectification Campaign to Boost Cadres with “Red DNA”

President Xi Jinping has given the clearest indication to date of his political orientation and policy preferences by launching a Maoist-style rectification campaign to “thoroughly clean up the work style” of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 85 million members. In the coming year, officials in... MORE

Beijing’s Aggressive New Foreign Policy and Implications for the South China Sea

The Xi Jinping leadership is embarking on an ambitious and all-rounded diplomacy that official Chinese commentators have called large-scale or high-powered diplomacy (dawaijiao). Its essence, according to the Xinhua News Agency, is “taking relations with big powers as crucial; giving priority to [China’s] neighbors; treating... MORE

China’s Reform Summed Up: Politics, No; Economics, Yes (Sort of…)

A near-schizophrenic bifurcation has informed Chinese-style reform as implemented by the six-month old administration of General Secretary Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. On the one hand, the preserving stability (weiwen) apparatus has pulled out all the stops to shackle dissidents and stymie other “destabilizing... MORE

Binding the Baton: Expanding Police Power, Improving Accountability

Since Xi Jinping’s assumption of the posts of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary and commander-in-chief last November, much attention has been paid to his instructions about raising the army’s ability to “get ready to fight and to win wars.” A recent spate of reshuffles... MORE

Fierce Debate Erupts over the Meaning of the “China Dream”

Since becoming General Secretary at the 18th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) last November, Xi Jinping has talked about the “China Dream” (zhongguo meng) at least five times. On all these occasions, Xi has equated the China Dream with “fulfilling the great... MORE

Centralized Power Key to Realizing Xi’s “China Dream”

Immediately after Xi Jinping was elected state president at the just-ended First Session of the 12th National People’s Congress (NPC), he revisited his idea about fulfilling the “China dream.” Xi, who is also general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and commander-in-chief, cited three... MORE

National People’s Congress Marks Sharp Turn Toward Conservatism

Chinese intellectuals who harbor expectations that the Xi Jinping-Li Keqiang administration may kick start a new cycle of reforms were sorely disappointed on the first day of the First Session of the 12th National People’s Congress, when outgoing Premier Wen Jiabao delivered his last Government... MORE

All the General Secretary’s Men: Xi Jinping’s Inner Circle Revealed

Barely three months after assuming the posts of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general secretary and Central Military Commission (CMC) chairman, Xi Jinping has done well in buttressing his authority within the party’s upper echelons. Xi’s remarkable consolidation comes in spite of the fact that he... MORE