The 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CCP) concluded in Beijing with thunderous applause echoing from the Great Hall of the People. With the next National Congress slated for 2012, the 17th National Congress unveiled President Hu’s cast of star “Princelings,” ordaining the Fifth Generation of CCP leaders chosen for grooming to take over the helm of the CCP when Hu steps down in 2012. Given the significance of “generational” change in the history of CCP’s elite politics and its impact on China’s political transition, the China Brief invited its analysts to use this rare window to assess the direction of the CCP’s domestic and foreign policies. In Issue 19, Dr. Li Cheng gave an in-depth forecast of the major players that may enter the Politburo leading up to National Congress. In Issue 20, Senior Fellow Willy Lam analyzed the choices that were made and offered a sobering account of CCP intra-party reform. In this issue, the China Brief invited Dr. I-Chung Lai, a Member of the Executive Board of the Taiwan Thinktank, to take us into the turbulent waters of the Taiwan Strait and analyze the implications of the National Congress on China’s Taiwan policy.
Amid U.S. lawmakers’ growing concerns of the recent influx of Chinese firms buying up stakes in strategic U.S. industries, Dr. Wenran Jiang tries to put a damper on these fears and argues that the investment strategies adopted by Chinese businesses are, in fact, a function of its commitment to free market principles.
Also included in this issue, Dr. John C.K. Daly followed the heavy tracks left by Premier Wen Jiabao’s trip to Uzbekistan for the sixth annual Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting of the Council of Heads of Government, and Wen’s whirlwind Eurasia state visits to Kazakhastan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Daly discovered a subtle crack in the perceived monolith SCO, where the interests of the two powerhouses, China and Russia, diverge on priorities for the SCO and Central Asia.
In the Middle East, with the Iraqi government still mulling over the February draft oil law, Dr. Yitzahk Shichor’s piece analyzes China’s entry strategy and how it is steadily building its economic stake in Iraq.
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L.C. Russell Hsiao