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Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

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Showing posts for "Elizabeth C. Economy"

Podcast: China’s Millenials: Ambitious, Bold, and Dissatisfied

by Elizabeth C. Economy
China-millenials-rock-concert A rock fan gestures as he crowd surfs during a performance at the 2012 Strawberry Music Festival at Tongzhou Canal Park in Beijing, April 29, 2012. (Barry Huang/Reuters)

This week I interview Eric Fish, content producer at the Asia Society, whose wonderful new book, China’s Millennials: The Want Generation, gives us a fascinating insider’s look at China’s youth today. Fish discovers an informed youth that is finding its voice on issues such as the environment, women’s rights, and the rule of law, and pressing for change. They are also nationalistic and strong supporters of Chinese territorial claims. Read more »

Xi Jinping’s Virtual Political Reality

by Elizabeth C. Economy
People watch a TV showing of a huge screen shows a news broadcast of China's Vice President Xi Jinping at the 18th Communist Party Congress at a crossroads in Shanghai November 8, 2012. REUTERS/Aly Song (CHINA - Tags: POLITICS) People watch as a huge screen shows a news broadcast of China's Vice President Xi Jinping at the 18th Communist Party Congress at a crossroads in Shanghai November 8, 2012. Since assuming the presidency later in 2012, Xi has introduced new restrictions on foreign and domestic media in China. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Xi Jinping is the gift that keeps on giving. Scarcely a week goes by in which he does not announce a new policy initiative or adopt some measure that reverberates around the world. I often find myself skimming the news anxiously to see “What has Xi Jinping done today?” Yet, increasingly, I find myself asking, not “what” but rather “why” he is doing what he is doing. Read more »

Podcast: How a U.S. Company Took On a Chinese SOE and Won

by Elizabeth C. Economy
China-wind-energy-turbine Employees climb up an electricity pylon next to a windmill to carry on a routine inspection at a wind power plant in Mingguang, Anhui province, July 8, 2013. (China Daily/Reuters)

In another break from my podcast series on new books, I interview Patrick Jenevein, CEO of Tang Energy. Patrick relays in fascinating detail the high points—and some of the low ones as well—of his twenty years of experience doing business in China until everything exploded in 2014–2015. The story of breached contracts and bullying behavior will not be new for many familiar with the perils of doing business in China. But how Patrick managed to take on the behemoth state-owned enterprise Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and win his case adds a fresh and uncommon twist. Patrick’s story may not be a book—but it could be. Read more »

Podcast: Understanding the Internal Debates Among China’s Top Thinkers

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Great-hall-of-the-people Attendants serve tea to delegates during the opening session of the National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 5, 2008. (Claro Cortes IV/Reuters)

While China’s leaders may hew to one political and economic line, there is an ongoing, vibrant debate among China’s top thinkers and scholars about the future of the country. In his new book, China’s Futures: PRC Elites Debate Economics, Politics, and Foreign Policy, University of Southern California Associate Professor Daniel Lynch delves into the internal publications of China’s elites to discover what they truly think on issues ranging from the economy to the political system to the role of the Internet. Read more »

Podcast: Michael Pettis on the ABC’s of the Chinese Economy

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Pettis-China-economy-podcast An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, July 13, 2009. (Stringer/Reuters)

Peking University Professor of Finance Michael Pettis recently sat down with me to share his thoughts on what is going on in the Chinese economy, what the Chinese leadership needs to do to get back on track, and what it all means for the United States and the rest of the world. The takeaway: Hold on to your hats, we are in for a bumpy ride… but we are not falling off the cliff… yet.

Read more »

Podcast: The China-Pakistan Axis

by Elizabeth C. Economy
The-China-Pakistan-Axis-Andrew-Small

Books on China’s relations with Pakistan are not usually at the top of my reading list, but I decided that it was time to delve into the topic when I encountered Andrew Small’s new book, The China-Pakistan Axis: Asia’s New Geopolitics. Maybe it was the creative and colorful cover that drew me in, but whatever the reason, Andrew, a transatlantic fellow with the Asia program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, has converted me to a follower of the relationship. Read more »

Podcast: China’s Coming War with Asia

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Chinese-army-actors Actors dressed as Red Army soldiers perform at a gala show to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, in Beijing, China, September 3, 2015. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

Jonathan Holslag, professor of international politics at the Free University of Brussels, in his terrific new book China’s Coming War with Asia puts forth the provocative thesis that war between China and Asia is inevitable. Driven by four grand aspirations—integration of frontier lands, popular support of the Party, international recognition of Chinese sovereignty, and recovery of lost territories—the Chinese leadership has embarked on a journey from which it will not deviate. Read more »

The Fits and Starts of China’s Economic Reforms

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds after unveiling a sculpture during the opening ceremony of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing, China, January 16, 2016. (Mark Schiefelbein/Reuters) Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds after unveiling a sculpture during the opening ceremony of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing, China, January 16, 2016. (Mark Schiefelbein/Reuters)

Over the past several months, it has become more than a full-time job trying to figure out what is going on in the Chinese economy. There have been many good efforts to make sense of all the disparate numbers that are coming out of Beijing and to tell people what to look for moving forward (including from George Magnus, Gabriel Wildau, and Eswar Prasad), but it is challenging. One thing that should not be—but often is—forgotten in the sea of numbers is the politics of the reform process. The political dimension can provide some much-needed context as to the problems Beijing is facing. Let me suggest three political factors that may be contributing to Beijing’s disjointed and seemingly sub-optimal economic decision-making process. Read more »

Podcast: Pivotal Countries, Alternate Futures

by Elizabeth C. Economy
A man looks at the Pudong financial district of Shanghai, November 20, 2013. (Carlos Barria/Reuters) A man looks at the Pudong financial district of Shanghai, November 20, 2013. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Uncertainty is at the heart of China today: uncertainty over its economic reforms, over its political situation, and over its ultimate foreign policy objectives. In this podcast, I interview New York University professor Michael Oppenheimer about his new book, Pivotal Countries, Alternate Futures, in which he outlines a set of scenarios for the future of China and the implications of those scenarios for U.S. policy. Listen to our discussion for his fascinating assessment of where Beijing is, where it is likely to go, and what he thinks the United States ought to do to ensure that its interests are advanced whatever the future trajectory of China. Read more »

Podcast: China and the West: Hope and Fear in the Age of Asia

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Chinese-band-great-hall A Chinese military band conductor prepares to perform before the opening ceremony of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing March 5, 2007. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

Three years into Xi Jinping’s tenure as president of China, the world is still grasping for an understanding of who he is and where he is leading the country. Dutch journalist Fokke Obbema takes us inside China in his terrific new book, China and the West: Hope and Fear in the Age of Asia, to help us consider the often competing and contradictory trends in China’s development and the challenge that the West appears to have in managing its relations with this dynamic—and often unpredictable—power. Read more »