Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State (10 weeks)
W 2019


    We are witnessing the dawn of a New Era in China.       

    Xi Jinping's China is significantly different from that of his predecessors:  the extraordinary centralization of authority under his personal leadership; the intensified penetration of society by the state; the creation of a virtual wall of regulations and restrictions that more tightly controls the flow of ideas, culture, and capital into and out of the country; and the significant projection of Chinese power internationally.  It represents a reassertion of the state in Chinese political and economic life at home, and a more expansive role for China abroad.  In other words, the Chinese leadership is reversing the trends that had been put in motion by Deng Xiaoping thirty years earlier.

       In the late 1970s and early 1980s, China transitioned out of the totalitarian Maoist Era (1949-1978).  Decades of elite political instability, stagnant economic growth, and radical ideological fervor were left behind.  In their place: relatively stable and more institutionalize Communist Party rule, supercharged economic growth, and an openness to the outside world -- the trifecta of factors that characterized the decades-long Reform Era (1978-2012).  These are now ending.

       China is in a new era.  The ultimate objective of this New Era is Xi Jinping's Chinese Dream -- the rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.

       What is the nature and magnitude of this New Era?  What is its strategic trajectory?  And what are the implications for the U.S.?

        To address these questions, this SDG will use:  1) Two newly released 2018 publications as core books;  one by an eminent China scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, Elizabeth C. Economy, entitled The Third Revolution, and the other, by an expert in Chinese law and governance at Fordham University Law School, entitled End of an Era.  Both books are not only well-researched, but also engaging, well written and clear.  Together, they present insightful, timely, and balanced perspectives on the current changes in China; and  2)  Topical materials from news media and think tanks, for example, The New York Times, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and  publications from Council on Foreign Relations, Rand Corporation, UN Reports, etc.


Weekly Topics

1.    Overview: Xi Jinping and China's "New Revolution"

2.   The Complex Interplay between State and Society

3.    Chinanet, a Virtual Political World

4.    Economic Modernization and Trade Tensions in Context

5.    "Made in China 2025" -- Innovation Nation

6.    War on Pollution, a Multifaceted Program

7.    Religion and Ideology:  What Do We Believe?

8.    The "Chinese Dream" and Rejuvenation

9.     Foreign Policy:  The Projection of Chinese Power

10.   China in Comparative Perspective


Core Books:

Economy, Elizabeth C.  The Third Revolution.  Oxford University Press, 2018.

Minzner, Carl.  End of an Era.  Oxford University Press, 2018.

Recommended Optional Reading:

Huang, Yukon.  Cracking the China Conundrum.  Oxford University Press, 2017.

Ringen, Stein.  The Perfect Dictatorship:  China in the 21st Century.  Hong Kong University Press, 2016.