The ChinaPower Podcast dissects critical issues underpinning China’s emergence as a global power. By bringing together the leading experts 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 the director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

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The 20th Party Congress and the PLA: A Conversation with Joel Wuthnow

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Dr. Joel Wuthnow joins us to discuss emerging future trends in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Dr. Wuthnow explains the key patterns of the structure of the PLA and how it has changed under Xi in the context of increasing emphasis on military modernization. He also discusses the potential impact of the 20th Party Congress on the PLA modernization process, believing that the Party Congress is unlikely to introduce dramatic changes, but we should pay attention to the new composition of the Central Military Commission (CMC). Lastly, Dr. Wuthnow comments on the implications of the key trends within the PLA, arguing the leadership reshuffle could affect the PLA’s assessment of its readiness and capabilities and those of its adversaries.

What to Know Ahead of China’s 20th Party Congress: A Conversation with Lingling Wei

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Lingling Wei joins us to discuss China’s upcoming 20th Party Congress that is scheduled to take place in October. Wei explains that during Party Congress meetings new leadership and constitutional changes are formally approved. Wei presents candidates likely to be promoted to senior positions during the upcoming Party Congress and highlights how these potential personnel shifts may impact China’s future economic and foreign policies. She argues that despite President Xi’s great power, he is willing to course correct when needed, pointing to how some of Xi’s economic policies have been dialed back during China’s recent economic downturn. Lastly, Wei concludes that the results of the Party Congress are important in shaping the future of U.S.-China relations.

Navigating U.S.-China Relations: A Conversation with Jessica Chen Weiss

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Jessica Chen Weiss joins us to discuss the state of U.S.-China relations and her recent lengthy article in Foreign Affairs. Dr. Weiss evaluates the Biden Administration’s approach to China, from the nature of the growing U.S.-China competition to how both sides could approach tensions over Taiwan. She argues that both China and the United States must demonstrate “reciprocal restraint” in order to reduce the chance of conflict and facilitate substantive progress in their relationship. She also offers her perspective on the upcoming Party Congress, evaluating how Chinese President Xi Jinping may behave as he enters his presumed third term. Lastly, Dr. Chen Weiss gives recommendations on how U.S. policy can adapt in order to avoid a “catastrophic” conflict with China.

The State of Chinese Food Security: A Conversation with Wendy Wu

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Wendy Wu joins us to discuss Chinese food security. Ms. Wu argues that Chinese food security is a matter of national security for the Chinese government and that assuring food security is critical for China’s stability. She explains the state of domestic Chinese food production and evaluates Chinese efforts to provide food access for its 1.4 billion people. She also discusses how Chinese food security is closely tied to its diplomatic relations, arguing that China’s strained relations with foreign countries, including the United States, presents major challenges to its food security going forward.

The PLA at 95 and the Current Crisis in the Taiwan Strait: A Conversation with Roderick Lee

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Mr. Roderick Lee joins us to discuss the state of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) as it marks its 95th anniversary. He lays out President Xi Jinping’s unique relationship with the military, discussing Xi’s personal affiliation with the PLA early in his career and the reforms of the PLA Xi has enacted as President. Mr. Lee argues that current PLA exercises near Taiwan are part of a “textbook” PLA deterrence strategy meant to demonstrate PLA capabilities and intimidate Taiwan. He notes that despite the unprecedented PLA escalation, Beijing has demonstrated restraint and seeks to avoid a full confrontation. Lastly, Mr. Lee comments on the long-term impacts of the ongoing PLA exercises, believing that they will provide strong insights into the PLA, its strategy, and its capabilities going forward.

The State of Japan-China Relations: A Conversation with Christopher Johnstone

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, CSIS Japan Chair Christopher Johnstone joins us to discuss the current state of Japan-China relations. Mr. Johnstone argues that Prime Minister Kishida’s policies have picked up from where his predecessors left off in terms of taking a more hardline China policy. He states that China’s deepening relations with Russia and its assertive behavior in Asia are alarming Tokyo, weighing on Japanese public sentiment toward China, and fueling proposals to increase defense spending. Despite these tensions, however, Mr. Johnstone notes that he has not seen significant Chinese economic coercion toward Japan in recent years, which speaks to the close economic relations that persist between the two countries. Lastly, Mr. Johnstone comments on rising Japanese support for Taiwan, discussing the growing Japanese consensus that Japan’s security and Taiwan’s are increasingly linked.

Hong Kong 25 Years Later: A Conversation With Daniel Ten Kate

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Daniel Ten Kate joins us to discuss the current state of affairs in Hong Kong. Mr. Ten Kate argues that Hong Kong has changed drastically since its handover to the P.R.C. 25 years ago. The “One Country, Two Systems” framework that governs the territory has allowed Hong Kong to maintain its economic system, but only Chinese “patriots” are allowed to participate in Hong Kong’s political system. He also discusses Hong Kong’s leadership, predicting that John Lee will have to navigate a strained economic climate and onerous Covid restrictions as he seeks to maintain Hong Kong’s status as a major financial hub.

Evaluating U.S. Engagement with China: A Conversation with Dr. Aaron Friedberg

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Dr. Aaron Friedberg joins us to discuss the current state and shortcomings of U.S. engagement with China. Dr. Friedberg argues that U.S. engagement with China has failed in several respects, highlighting China’s shift toward more repressive policies under Xi Jinping and its increasingly contentious relationship with the United States in the Asia-Pacific. He believes that, rather than becoming a “responsible stakeholder,” China has instead evolved into a “revisionist power” that is seeking to surpass American influence in Asia and challenge the global status quo. He offers that if the United States did not embrace the approach of engaging with China, it is possible that China would be more aggressive now, but China would also be a weaker power. Lastly, Dr. Friedberg lays out his view of how the United States can best strategize on China going forward, including offering his evaluation of the Biden Administration’s current policy toward China.