ChinaPower Podcast
Bonnie S. Glaser

China Power Project Director and Senior Adviser for Asia, CSIS

The ChinaPower Podcast dissects critical issues underpinning China’s emergence as a global power. By bringing together the leading minds on China and international politics, the series offers our listeners critical insights into the challenges and opportunities presented by China’s rise. These extended discussions are hosted by Bonnie S. Glaser, senior adviser for Asia and the director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Ms. Glaser is concomitantly a non-resident fellow with the Lowy Institute in Sydney and a senior associate with CSIS Pacific Forum.

Podcast Episodes

China-Vietnam Ties: A Conversation with Alexander Vuving

July 20, 2017

Despite historically strong party-to-party ties between Hanoi and Beijing, territorial disputes and competition for influence in Southeast Asia have led to increased tensions between Vietnam and China. General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’s official visit to China at the start of 2017 seemed to indicate both countries were working to stabilize relations. However, in June, Vice Chairman of the CMC Fan Changlong, cut short his visit to Hanoi, and a joint military exercise was subsequently cancelled. In this episode, we are joined by Dr. Alexander Vuving to discuss ties between China and Vietnam and their implications for regional stability.

Xi Jinping and the 19th Party Congress: A Conversation with Joseph Fewsmith

June 21, 2017

This fall, the Communist Party of China will host its 19th Party Congress, which will bring new members into both the Standing Committee and the Politburo. The 19th Party Congress will also mark the start of President Xi Jinping’s second five-year term as CCP General Secretary. It is widely believed that the Party Congress will enable Xi to further consolidate his authority as the Party’s “core leader.” In this episode, we discuss Chinese leadership politics and look ahead to the 19th Party Congress with Professor Joe Fewsmith.

China-South Korea Relations under Moon: A Conversation with John Delury

June 9, 2017

In the early years of Park Geun-hye’s presidency, South Korea’s relations with China reached an all-time high. Mutual disappointments followed, however. The latest and most serious challenge to the relationship came in July 2016, when Seoul announced its decision to deploy the THAAD missile defense system. In response, Beijing used various tools, including economic coercion, to pressure Seoul to reverse its decision. With newly elected ROK President Moon Jae-in in office in Seoul, there may be an opportunity to improve South Korea-China ties. In this episode we welcome Professor John Delury as we discuss the current state of relations between Beijing and Seoul and prospects for their future development.

One Belt, One Road, One Asia?: A Conversation with David M. Lampton

May 10, 2017

On May 14-15, 28 heads of state will attend China’s Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation—an event Beijing has deemed “the year’s diplomatic highlight.” First introduced in November 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative is a foreign policy and economic strategy led by President Xi Jinping. BRI seeks to interconnect Eurasia, Africa, and Oceania with East Asia through two routes—one land based and one maritime based. While estimates vary, together the Belt and Road Initiative is reported to involve 65 countries, 4.4 billion people and about 40% of global GDP. In this episode, we discuss BRI with Professor David M. Lampton, and what it means for Chinese power and influence around its periphery.

The Future of Democracy in Hong Kong: A Conversation with David Zweig

April 26, 2017

On March 26, Carrie Lam was elected by a roughly 1,200 person election committee to become Hong Kong’s next chief executive. Beijing’s clear favorite, Lam won with 777 votes, despite lack of public support from local Hongkongers. While minimal political representation is a familiar matter to those in this “Special Administrative Region” of China, the 2017 election has raised questions and concerns about Hong Kong’s future, especially the potential for political reform. In this episode we sit down with David Zweig to discuss the recent election, why Beijing is exerting a heavier hand, and the future of democracy in Hong Kong.

The Inaugural Trump-Xi Summit: A Conversation with Ely Ratner

April 14, 2017

On April 6 and 7, President Trump and Xi Jinping, along with their senior staff, had in-depth discussions about the bilateral trade and economic relationship, North Korea, and maritime issues in the East and South China Seas. The meetings provided an opportunity for both leaders to present their concerns and convey their priorities, and to establish a good working relationship. At the end of their discussions, both Trump and Xi characterized the talks in positive terms. In this episode we sit down with Ely Ratner to discuss what was achieved at the Xi-Trump summit and how the meeting might influence US-China relations going forward.

The Future of US-China Economic Ties: A Conversation with Erin Ennis

April 6, 2017

Economic ties between the US and China have expanded significantly over the last three decades. China is now the United States’ biggest source of imports and the US is the largest destination of Chinese FDI in the world. Amid problems in the political and security realms, trade and economic cooperation were for many years described as the key pillars of the bilateral relationship. But many no longer agree with that characterization. Since becoming president, Donald Trump’s administration has called for a tougher stance towards China’s trade policies, but the specifics of US policy are still under discussion. In this episode, we sit down with Erin Ennis to discuss the US-China economic relationship.

Outcomes of China’s “Two Sessions:” A Conversation with Carl Minzner

March 22, 2017

Every March, around 5,000 Chinese officials, lawmakers and political advisors descend on Beijing for China’s National People’s Conference and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. These meetings are commonly known as the “Two Sessions.” The 2017 meetings came to a close on March 15th after two-weeks of consultation, during which China’s leaders solidified the Party’s agenda for the upcoming year. In this episode, we sit down with Carl Minzner to discuss the outcomes and significance of this year’s “Two Sessions” and look ahead to the 19th Party Congress this fall.

China’s North Korea Policy: A Conversation with Yun Sun

March 9, 2017

Following Pyongyang’s February 11th missile test, Beijing announced that it would suspend imports of North Korean coal for the rest of 2017. Although China has voted in favor of tightening UN sanctions on North Korea, Beijing continues to stress that sanctions are not an end in themselves and urges resumption of diplomacy with North Korea. Growing friction between China and North Korea is evident, though trade ties have continued to expand. While Beijing’s recent decision to suspend coal imports came as a surprise to many, whether this marks a notable shift in China’s policy in dealing with Pyongyang is a topic of debate among observers. In this episode, we sit down with Yun Sun to discuss China’s policy toward North Korea.

Soft Power through Chinese Cinema: A Conversation with Stan Rosen

February 23, 2017

Films are one important way that major nations cultivate soft power, and China is hoping to use its film industry to enhance its international image. Ticket sales in China grossed more than 6.5 billion US dollars in 2015 and are expected to top 11.9 billion by the end of 2017, which would propel China to overtake the US as the highest grossing country in box office sales. But while many Chinese films have proven to be “blockbusters” domestically, these films usually fail to appeal to foreign audiences. In this episode, we talk to Professor Stan Rosen about how China attempts to use film and media to promote a positive narrative of Chinese power.

US-China Relations in Trump’s First Year: A Conversation with Chen Dingding

February 13, 2017

In the lead up to his January 20th inauguration, Donald Trump signaled that he would take a tough stance toward China, creating anxieties in Beijing. Although the Trump administration’s China policy is not yet clear, pledges to impose tariffs on Chinese goods and label China a currency manipulator have not been implemented yet, and President Trump now says he will honor the “one China” policy. Concerned over the possible deterioration of US-China relations, Beijing has responded cautiously to Trump’s hardline rhetoric, in the hope that his administration will recognize that it needs good relations with China. In this episode, we sit down with Chen Dingding for part two of our series discussing US-China relations in the first year of the Trump Administration.

Russia, China, and the Global Order: A Conversation with Olga Oliker and Jeff Mankoff

January 27, 2017

Russia and China, despite a contentious history, have been increasing strategic cooperation in ways that affect US interests. In a special crossover episode between the ChinaPower podcast and Russian Roulette, we sit down with Olga Oliker and Jeff Mankoff of the Russia Program at CSIS. In this episode, we discuss Beijing’s view of its place in the world and how Moscow fits into this vision, Moscow’s priorities in its relations with China and Asia more broadly, and how this all impacts Russia’s and China’s respective relationships with the United States.

Setting up US-China Ties in a New Administration: A Conversation with Evan Medeiros

January 24, 2017

Donald Trump’s efforts to build leverage over and reset the US-China relationship to America’s advantage have introduced uncertainty into US-China relations. Trump’s first year in office will be critically important for setting the tone in the relationship, creating effective communication mechanisms, and establishing a personal relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping. In this episode, we welcome Dr. Evan Medeiros back to the ChinaPower Podcast, to provide us with a behind the scenes look at how US-China relations were managed during the last presidential transition and discuss the possible challenges in the US-China relationship in the first year of the Trump Administration.

China’s New Foreign NGO Law: A Conversation with Sophie Richardson

January 3, 2017

China’s new Overseas Non-Governmental Organization Law took effect on January 1st and is aimed primarily at reducing the influence of foreign actors on domestic affairs. Beijing now requires foreign organizations to register with the Ministry of Public Security and have an official Chinese sponsor or host organization. These measures have prompted international concern that Beijing will use its new regulations to constrain or even expel organizations advocating for human rights, women’s issues, public health and environmental protection. In this episode, we welcome Dr. Sophie Richardson as we discuss the implications of the law for China’s development as a modern society and a country that aims to play a bigger role in global governance.

China’s Race to Space: A Conversation with Joan Johnson-Freese

December 19, 2016

Space is a tool of national power, and China’s space programs, like those of the United States and other countries, have both political and strategic objectives. One focus of China’s space program is on human spaceflight, and Chinese leaders are aiming to achieve a lunar landing in the 2030’s. China is utilizing space for communications, science, and military purposes. China’s space program is a source of pride for the Chinese people and a component of Chinese soft power. In this episode, we welcome Joan Johnson-Freese as we discuss China’s ongoing efforts and objectives of its space program.

China’s Energy Security: A Conversation with Zha Daojiong

December 8, 2016

Following decades of breakneck economic growth, China’s energy needs have expanded rapidly. China is the world’s largest consumer of energy, the largest producer and consumer of coal, and the largest emitter of carbon dioxide. In recent years, China has invested heavily in renewable energy and emerged as a global leader in hydroelectric, wind and solar energy. Despite Beijing’s effort to expand the use of non-fossil fuels, China’s energy import dependence is expected to continue for decades to come. In this episode, we welcome Professor Zha Daojiong as we discuss the risks involved with China’s foreign energy dependence and the ways in which Beijing is attempting to mitigate them.

US-China Military Ties: A Conversation with Phillip C. Saunders

November 15, 2016

Ties between the US and Chinese militaries are deepening at the same time that strategic competition between them is increasing, especially in the Asia-Pacific. The US is hoping that efforts such as the establishment of the Strategic Security Dialogue in 2012 and the inclusion of China in Rim of the Pacific naval exercises will help avoid miscalculation that could escalate to a political or even military crisis. In this episode, we welcome Phillip C. Saunders as we discuss both the progress that’s been made and the persistent challenges in US-China military relations.

China’s 6th Plenum in Review: A Conversation with Bill Bishop

November 8, 2016

The Sixth Plenum of the Communist Party of China came to a close on October 28. The major theme of this year’s plenum was intra-Party supervision—emphasizing that even Politburo Standing Committee members are not above party regulations. Perhaps the most significant news to come out of the plenum was the designation of Xi as the “core” of the leadership, a title previously granted to Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin. Observers differ over whether Xi’s new title is evidence of his strength or weakness. In this episode, we welcome Bill Bishop as we discuss the 6th Plenum and look to next year’s 19th Party Congress.

Duterte’s China Visit: A Conversation with Renato Cruz De Castro

November 2, 2016

On October 21, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte concluded his first state visit to China. During his time in Beijing, Duterte and President Xi Jinping agreed to a total of 13 bilateral cooperation documents and announced plans to resume official, bilateral talks on disputes in the South China Sea. While the U.S. publicly supports the improvement in Sino-Philippine relations, remarks made by Duterte in Beijing have left Washington and its allies in East Asia concerned over the future of the U.S.-Philippine alliance. In this episode, we welcome Professor Renato Cruz De Castro as we discuss China’s relations with the Philippines and the implications for managing the South China Sea disputes and regional power dynamics.

Obama’s Legacy in US-China Relations: A Conversation with Evan Medeiros

September 29, 2016

The relationship between the United States and China is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. During the course of Obama’s tenure, the opportunities to cooperate with China on key global challenges expanded, but at the same time, U.S.-Chinese interests clashed on several issues and strategic competition increased. In this episode, ChinaPower sat down with Evan Medeiros to discuss the president’s legacy in relations with China and the evolution of the bilateral relationship that President Obama will be handing off to the next U.S. president in January 2017.

Why and How China Hacks: A Conversation with Samm Sacks

September 19, 2016

Of the persistent problems in the US-China relationship, few have caused as much friction as China’s behavior in cyberspace. Chinese hacking led to the Department of Justice indictment of 5 members of the PLA for cyber enabled economic espionage in May 2014. The US-China cyber agreement, forged during President Xi’s state visit in 2015, is the first step in what is likely going to be a bumpy road toward establishing a set of norms in cyberspace.

Recapping China’s G20: A Conversation with Matt Goodman

September 9, 2016

The G20 came to a close on September 5, marking the end of China’s first time hosting the summit. Beijing used the opportunity to promote themes of development and inclusiveness by extending invitations well beyond the circle of G20 members. In hosting the G20, China further established its role in global economic governance, as representatives from 85 percent of the world’s economy met in Hangzhou to address issues of trade and globalization.

Gender Inequality in China: A Conversation with Leta Hong Fincher

August 29, 2016

In this episode, we welcome award-winning journalist and author of Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China, Leta Hong Fincher, as we discuss the challenges facing women today in China. In a society with a near universal expectation of marriage and where the under-twenty population has over 30 million more men than women, women in China face tremendous pressure to marry. Despite the major contributions made by women to China’s development, women are often excluded from property ownership, subject to restrictions on their reproductive rights, and are actively discouraged from raising legal complaints when they are victims of domestic violence.

Exploring Sino-Japanese Relations: A Conversation with Sheila Smith

August 11, 2016

In this episode, we welcome Sheila Smith, a Senior Fellow for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Despite high levels of integration between the world’s second and third largest economies, Sino-Japanese relations remain contentious.  Historical animosity and territorial disputes are two commonly cited sources of tension between the two great powers. Recent developments have heightened friction in the bilateral relationship.

What Brexit means for China: A Conversation with Philippe LeCorre

July 21, 2016

In this episode, we sit down with Brookings visiting fellow Philippe Le Corre to discuss the implications of Brexit for China. On June 23, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, sending shockwaves throughout Europe and the rest of world. The reaction in China, the world’s second largest economy, was difficult to decipher. What Brexit means for China’s economic and political interests in Europe remains unclear.

Breaking down the South China Sea ruling: A Conversation with Peter Dutton

July 13, 2016

In this episode, we discuss the landmark UNCLOS ruling by an arbitral tribunal constituted under the Convention with Peter Dutton, Director of the China Maritime Studies Institute at the U.S. Naval War College. On July 12, 2016, the tribunal ruled against China’s claims to historic rights within the Nine-Dash Line, and that its construction of several artificial islands violated the sovereign rights of the Philippines. It also found that China is in violation of its obligation to protect the marine environment and that its vessels are illegally harassing Filipino fishermen and interfering with energy exploitation efforts. China declared the award null and void and insisted that it has no binding force. China said it neither accepts nor recognizes the decision.

China’s role in the AIIB: A Conversation with Yukon Huang

June 28, 2016

In this inaugural episode, we discuss China’s role in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with Dr. Yukon Huang, a senior associate in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Fifty-seven countries have already joined the multilateral development bank. Another thirty-plus are waiting in the wings, yet both the United States and Japan have opted not to join. This ChinaPower exclusive explores the prospects for the AIIB’s success, its potential impact on other international lending institutions, and whether China’s leadership within the bank will bolster China’s international influence.

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