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China Analysis Digest #71

A weekly curated list of new China-related analyses.

Date range: August 29 - September 5, 2022

Sources scanned: 122

Publications: 175 (English), 36 (Chinese)

China Watching

Reading the China Dream

Made in China Journal

China Heritage

‘I dreamed last night…’, by Lao Shu, 29 August 2022


I dreamed last night that I was living in the mountains. By day I gathered firewood to cook hotpot and a plum tree bloomed at my front door.

I’d look at ancient paintings by the light of a lamp, and use my mobile phone to count my change.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. Two security men confronted me:

‘Hurry up, no excuses now! You’ve gotta go down into town to be tested for covid.’
— trans. G.R. Barmé

China Media Project

"We have been told that China is furious over the UN report on human rights in Xinjiang. But the revealing fact is that so far Chinese media have spoken only to the rest of the world — and virtually zero mention of the report can be found inside the country...

It is possible that China’s state media will find the words — furious ones? — in the days to come. But the silence tells its own story, of Xinjiang as a matter so sensitive to China’s leadership that the only voices permitted to speak are the megaphones intended for external audiences."

China Leadership Monitor

"The political agenda of Chinese President Xi Jinping during his first decade in power consisted of three core components: establishing personal political dominance, revitalizing the Leninist party-state, and expanding Chinese power and influence globally. As he completes his first two terms and seeks a third term, he has made uneven progress in accomplishing his agenda. Due to his political skills and control of the regime’s instruments of coercion, Xi has firmly established his political authority and dominance. The revitalization of the Leninist party-state has been most successful in reinstituting tight social control. The reintroduction of ideological indoctrination and organizational discipline into the party may have produced a revival of political ritualism but questionable genuine ideological commitment and political loyalty. The reassertion of state control over the economy has just begun, and it is likely to entail immense costs. The assertive foreign policy has yielded mostly counterproductive outcomes as attempts to take advantage of the shift in the global balance of power has provoked a vigorous pushback by the U.S. and its allies."
" Will the dynamics of CCP elite politics revert back to an oligarchic track by snuffing out the neo-Maoist trends created by Xi?...

As long as the fundamental consensus between Xi and his intra-party enemies to maintain the CCP’s monopoly of public power is not broken, the regime will continue to provide the dictator with the institutional advantages to actualize his goals, rather than those of his subordinates...Ultimately, Xi and his intra-CCP enemies share the same dream, that is, to maintain the CCP regime, from which they all can benefit. In other words, the resistance is inevitably weak, fragile, and possibly unfounded, as long as the powerful CCP cadres are reluctant to challenge the entire regime, upon which they all depend."

Opinion Pages

Project Syndicate

"In the eyes of most leaders of the Communist Party of China, Mikhail Gorbachev committed the unforgivable crime of causing the collapse of the Soviet Union. Despite more than three decades of success at avoiding a similar fate, China’s rulers are still spooked by his legacy...

Evidence of the CPC’s lasting vicarious trauma is readily visible even today – more than three decades after Gorbachev sealed the fate of the Soviet empire. In late February, the party’s propagandists began to screen “Historical nihilism and the dissolution of the Soviet Union,” a 101-minute documentary that blamed the Soviet Communist Party for failing to enforce strict censorship, particularly regarding history and Western liberal ideas."

Australian Financial Review

"Canberra cannot be silent if US policy on Taiwanese independence changes. Quiet diplomacy is called for to warn against policies that recklessly risk war with China."


War on the Rocks


China-US Focus

"Africa’s debt problem has a long history. The huge foreign debt of nearly $700 billion has become a formidable bottleneck restricting Africa’s economic development. As a matter of fact, the West owes much to its formulation. In the 1960s and 1970s, most African countries wanted money in the early stage of industrialization and took on massive foreign debt from Western countries and financial institutions under Western control...

According to the World Bank, of the total foreign debt of $696 billion of 49 African countries with available data, three-fourths is owed to multilateral financial institutions and private financial institutions (excluding China). A report released by British charity Debt Justice showed that 35 percent of African countries’ foreign debt came from Western private lenders, nearly triple China’s loans to Africa and with an average interest rate about double that of Chinese loans...

African countries themselves [have] a right to say whether China’s investment and financing cooperation with Africa is a treasure or a trap."

East Asia Forum

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