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Showing posts for "Elizabeth C. Economy"

The Real Challenge for China’s Third Plenum

by Elizabeth C. Economy
A security guard stands at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 7, 2013 (Kim Kyung-hoon/Courtesy Reuters). A security guard stands at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on November 7, 2013 (Kim Kyung-hoon/Courtesy Reuters).

A version of this post originally appeared in the Economic Times and can be found here.

Anticipation is high as China approaches the third plenum of the 18th Party Congress, scheduled to take place on November 9-12. Why the excitement? Read more »

China’s Xinjiang Problem

by Elizabeth C. Economy
A child looks out from a door as a Uighur woman walks by in a residential area in Turpan, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region on October 31, 2013 (Michael Martina/Courtesy Reuters). A child looks out from a door as a Uighur woman walks by in a residential area in Turpan, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region on October 31, 2013 (Michael Martina/Courtesy Reuters).

This post first appeared on CNN’s GPS blog and can be found here.

In the aftermath of an apparent suicide attack in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on October 27 that injured dozens of people and killed five (including three involved in the attack), Chinese authorities moved quickly to label the incident terrorism and to arrest a handful of suspects who reportedly helped plot the attack. In the process, word leaked out that those involved were from Xinjiang, a Muslim-dominated region in the far northwest of China. For decades, Xinjiang, itself, has been the site of often-violent ethnic strife between the Muslim Uyghur majority and the Han Chinese minority. Uyghur discontent, however, has rarely spilled over into other parts of China. Now, Chinese authorities are claiming that Uyghur extremists have, for the first time, taken their cause to Beijing. Read more »

“In Line Behind a Billion People”: Fun, Fast, and Fact-filled

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Examinees walk into the entrance of a classroom building to take part in a three-day entrance exam for postgraduate studies, at Anhui University, in Hefei, Anhui province on January 5, 2013 (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters). Examinees walk into the entrance of a classroom building to take part in a three-day entrance exam for postgraduate studies, at Anhui University, in Hefei, Anhui province on January 5, 2013 (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

What do we still not know about China? A never-ending stream of books explores every issue, every relationship, and every period of Chinese history. Newspaper articles report breathlessly on the same topics year after year—until we can practically predict when the articles reporting that Chinese wind farms are taking over the world will segue into those decrying the almost near-criminal level of overcapacity in wind power. So when a new China book appears on the scene, it is worth asking what, if anything, it contributes to our overall state of knowledge of China? Damien Ma’s and William Adams’ In Line Behind a Billion People does what many books attempt but few successfully accomplish: provide an eminently readable, even entertaining, guide to what is going on in China today. Read more »

Why Not Biden?

by Elizabeth C. Economy
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Vice President Joe Biden (L) order from the menu at a sandwich shop near the White House in Washington on October 4, 2013 (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and Vice President Joe Biden (L) order from the menu at a sandwich shop near the White House in Washington on October 4, 2013 (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters).

Let’s be clear. Anyone who thinks that President Obama could leave Washington, DC, to travel to Asia for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and the East Asia Summit (EAS) in the midst of a virtual collapse of the U.S. government doesn’t understand the U.S. political system. The president would have been skewered—by the media, by the Republicans, and in private, by his own party. But why not send Vice President Biden? Read more »

China and Southeast Asia: Take Three

by Elizabeth C. Economy
China's Premier Li Keqiang, flanked by President of Myanmar Thein Sein (L) and Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, sows the "seed of hope" during the opening ceremony of the 10th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region, on September 3, 2013 (China Daily/Courtesy Reuters). China's Premier Li Keqiang, flanked by President of Myanmar Thein Sein (L) and Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, sows the "seed of hope" during the opening ceremony of the 10th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region, on September 3, 2013 (China Daily/Courtesy Reuters).

Most of the attention paid to China these days focuses on Beijing’s efforts to change things on the home front. Targeted arrests of officials on grounds of corruption, a crackdown on prominent Internet and human rights activists, and the establishment of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone are just some of the many policy (re)innovations that Xi Jinping and his team are advancing. Yet pieces are also in play on the foreign policy front, suggesting that China may be entering a new phase in its regional diplomacy. Read more »

A Chill, Ill Wind Blows Across China

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Pan Shiyi, chairman of SOHO China, attends a session at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference in Boao town, Hainan province on April 8, 2013 (Tyrone Siu/Courtesy Reuters). Pan Shiyi, chairman of SOHO China, attends a session at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference in Boao town, Hainan province on April 8, 2013 (Tyrone Siu/Courtesy Reuters).

I have to give Beijing credit. When the Chinese leaders put Wang Qishan in charge of the anti-corruption effort, they knew what they were doing. Widely believed to be one of the most competent of the new leadership, he has ensured that no policy arena has as much energy behind it as his anti-corruption campaign. Other priorities such as building a social welfare net, protecting the environment, and reforming the economy are still in the familiar planning and blueprint stages. Wang, in contrast, has spearheaded campaigns against multinationals, Chinese companies, individual Chinese officials, and businesspeople. Scarcely a week goes by when one corruption case or another does not make Chinese headlines. Read more »

China’s Li Keqiang on the Urbanization Warpath

by Elizabeth C. Economy
A labourer has his dinner under his shed at a construction site of a residential complex in Hefei, Anhui province, August 1, 2012. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) A labourer has his dinner under his shed at a construction site of a residential complex in Hefei, Anhui province on August 1, 2012 (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is on the urbanization warpath. For Li, urbanization—transforming rural Chinese into urban dwellers—has become perhaps the most important issue of his early months as premier. Most recently, on September 7, in advance of November’s Party Plenum to lay out the country’s economic blueprint, he met with a group of experts to discuss urbanization strategies. Scarcely a month goes by where he does not give a speech or offer some commentary on the issue. For Li, successfully urbanizing China is at the heart of the country’s ability to continue to grow economically. Read more »

Blink and You Will Miss It: Obama’s Quiet Pivot Progress

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Philippine President Benigno Aquino greets visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during a courtesy call at the presidential palace in Manila on August 30, 2013. (Romeo Ranoco/Courtesy Reuters) Philippine President Benigno Aquino greets visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during a courtesy call at the presidential palace in Manila on August 30, 2013. (Romeo Ranoco/Courtesy Reuters)

Amidst the din of Syrian intervention talk and Fed picks, the Obama administration is pushing forward quietly, but determinedly, to flesh out the pivot to Asia. While most of the critical attention on the pivot or rebalance is paid to what is transpiring on the security front, there is real, albeit slow, progress on the trade front and the potential for significant advances in other areas such as environmental protection. Read more »

In China, Foreigners Come First

by Elizabeth C. Economy
A flag (L) bearing the logo of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) flutters next to a Chinese national flag outside a GlaxoSmithKline office building in Shanghai on July 12, 2013. GlaxoSmithKline executives in China have confessed to bribery and tax violations during one of a string of investigations into foreign firms. (Aly Song/Courtesy Reuters) A flag (L) bearing the logo of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) flutters next to a Chinese national flag outside a GlaxoSmithKline office building in Shanghai on July 12, 2013. GlaxoSmithKline executives in China have confessed to bribery and tax violations during one of a string of investigations into foreign firms. (Aly Song/Courtesy Reuters)

Chinese often complain that foreigners come first. During the early years of reform, foreign companies received special incentives for investing in China, and the few nice hotels in the country were reserved for foreign visitors with their foreign currency—no ordinary Chinese allowed. Even today, if a crime is committed, many Chinese will argue that the police are more likely to take action if a foreigner is the victim than a Chinese. Foreigners also may come first however, when Beijing needs a scapegoat for the ills of the country. Read more »

What China Needs to Learn From India

by Elizabeth C. Economy
Labourers are silhouetted against the setting sun as they work at the construction site of a residential building in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad on October 5, 2012. (Krishnendu Halder/Courtesy Reuters) Labourers are silhouetted against the setting sun as they work at the construction site of a residential building in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad on October 5, 2012. (Krishnendu Halder/Courtesy Reuters)

In discussions and writings about the Asia Pacific, India often seems to get short shrift—despite its size, record-breaking economic growth, and growing regional and global influence. Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to pose some questions to the renowned economist—as well as Columbia University professor and my CFR colleague—Jagdish Baghwati about his terrific new book with Arvind Panagariya on India, Why Growth Matters: How Economic Growth in India Reduced Poverty and the Lessons for Other Developing Countries. Read more »