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China Analysis Digest #33

Publications from October 8-14, 2021

China Analysis Digest is a weekly published list of new China-related analyses.

Issue: 2021/33

  • Date range: October 8-14, 2021
  • Sources scanned: 86
  • Content: 223 publications from 50 sources
  • Download raw data (.csv)

What Biden’s Top China Theorist Gets Wrong

Ethan Paul | Lawfare | October 7 | 3592 words

In this review of Rush Doshi’s The Long Game: China’s Grand Strategy to Displace American Order (Oxford University Press, 2021), Paul highlights the internal contradictions and dangers of the book’s core argument. Paul’s core critique of the arguments advanced by Doshi and others is that they conflate dominance with national interests, risking confusing means and ends:

Many authors of these arguments—Ely Ratner, Mira Rapp-Hooper, Kelly Magsamen, Melanie Hart, Tarun Chhabra and Lindsey Ford—have secured top jobs in the Biden administration. Together, they represent a new, rising generation of policymakers who seek to reorient American foreign policy around competition with China, and Doshi serves as their foremost theorist. They will now get their chance to put their ideas to the test, but expect the U.S.-China knot to end up tighter than ever before, leaving it up to others to find a way of untying it.

I highly recommend this review because it addresses just how extraordinary and unbalanced the US’ “unipolar” moment actually was, and the dangers for the world if the US recklessly tried to maintain the imbalance.

The Triumph and Terror of Wang Huning

N. S. Lyons | Palladium | October 11 | 4072 words

This insightful portrait of Wang Huning, the CCP’s top theoretician, deserves our attention. Lyons tells us about Wang’s nightmare and triumph. Wang’s nightmare is a China infected with global liberal ideals, following the US down a path of political conflict, and economic and social decay. In contrast to the “radical, nihilistic individualism at the heart of modern American liberalism,” Wang wants China to follow a political philosophy that:

blend[s] Marxist socialism with traditional Chinese Confucian values and Legalist political thought, maximalist Western ideas of state sovereignty and power, and nationalism in order to synthesize a new basis for long-term stability and growth immune to Western liberalism.

The implications of Wang’s ideas are immense. As Lyon writes:

our world is witnessing a grand experiment that’s now underway: China and the West, facing very similar societal problems, have now, thanks to Wang Huning, embarked on radically different approaches to addressing them. And with China increasingly challenging the United States for a position of global geopolitical and ideological leadership, the conclusion of this experiment could very well shape the global future of governance for the century ahead.

中国国际关系学科发展导向及其反思 [Reflections on the developmental orientation of the international relations discipline in China]

阎学通 [Yan Xuetong] | 中国社会科学网 [China Social Science Net] | October 14 | 2506 characters

Yan, China’s preeminent international relations scholar, highlights four worrying trends for the development of the discipline in China. First, foundational and theoretical research is weakening and not prioritised vis-a-vis policy-related research. Second, a return of opposition in some quarters against using scientific methods to study international relations. Third, professional thresholds/requirements and professional education levels have lowered. Fourth, an increasing tendency to use social popularity as opposed to scholarly measures for determining the worth of research. He recommends caring more about theoretical research, and less about policy recommendations, commentaries, and internet popularity.

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Full List

China Heritage:

Made in China Journal:

China Media Project:

War on the Rocks:

Foreign Affairs:

China Brief:

Project Syndicate:

The Atlantic:

Australian Financial Review:

Lowy Interpreter:

East Asia Forum:


The Strategist:

Sixth Tone:

China Digital Times:


Inside Story:

Politico China Watcher:

Politico China Direct:

The Wire China:


Congressional Research Service:

Center for Strategic and International Studies:

Center for Advanced China Research:


Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:

Center for New American Security:

Chicago Council on Global Affairs:

Brookings Institution:

Chatham House:

Australia-China Relations Institute:

Observer Research Foundation:

The Conversation:

The Diplomat:

Foreign Policy:


What's on Weibo:

Chaoyang Trap House:



Tracking People's Daily:

Eye on China:

Beijing to Britain:

China Dialogue:

Hong Kong Free Press:

Taiwan Insight:





Thanks to Katharina Ni for the magic (codes) that makes this series possible.