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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China’s Economic Woes: A Conversation with Scott Kennedy

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Dr. Scott Kennedy joins us to discuss the state of China’s economy and its current challenges. Dr. Kennedy says that Chinese domestic economic policy, including crackdowns in the technology and education sectors, is dampening prospects for China’s long-term growth. He also explains that China’s Zero-Covid policy and the Russian invasion of Ukraine have adversely shaped business sentiment in China. Lastly, Dr. Kennedy argues that China’s current economic difficulties could make it a more unpredictable and volatile actor on the world’s stage.

China’s Strategic Approach to the Solomon Islands: A Conversation with Rory Medcalf

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Professor Rory Medcalf joins us to discuss China’s strategy in the Solomon Islands and the Southwest Pacific. Professor Medcalf explains that the Southwest Pacific, for much of its history, has not been a zone of major power competition and is important because it stands geographically between Australia and the rest of the Indo-Pacific and the US. The Solomon Islands is one of multiple locations in the region that China has expressed military interest in. He also argues that China’s objectives in the region could distort the interests and priorities of governments and societies and could change the region’s balance of power. Lastly, Professor Medcalf recommends that the Australian government and its partners build and maintain a new level of engagement (through both governance and civil society) in the region in order to provide alternatives to China’s influence.

China’s Relationship with the Middle East: A Conversation with Dr. Jon B. Alterman

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, we are joined by Dr. Jon B. Alterman to unpack the relationship between China and the Middle East. Dr. Alterman begins with an overview of China’s role in the region, detailing China’s varied individual relationships with different countries. He states that China’s growing presence in the region is mostly motivated by Chinese self-interest and China is not willing to commit large sacrifices to deepen its relations with the region or with particular countries like Iran. Dr. Alterman concludes that the future of China-Middle East relations is unpredictable, and the United States should not overestimate China’s power in the region.

Taiwan’s View of the Invasion of Ukraine: A Conversation with Dr. Shen Ming-Shih

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Dr. Shen Ming-Shih joins us to discuss Taiwan’s views on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the potential lessons Taiwan may learn. Dr. Shen begins by exploring what Taiwan’s defense community has learned and the inspiration Taiwan’s people have drawn from Ukraine. He then discusses the ongoing debates in Taiwan over how to reform the island’s defense and build on its relationship with the U.S. Finally, Dr. Shen argues that the most important factor in a potential Taiwan conflict will be the actions of the U.S. and international community, and that the U.S. should embrace “strategic-level clarity” with tactical ambiguity to deter China from aggression.

China’s Lessons Learned from Ukraine: A Conversation with Dr. Tong Zhao

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Dr. Tong Zhao joins us to discuss China’s views on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the potential lessons China may learn. Dr. Zhao begins by describing the evolution of Chinese reactions to the invasion, from optimism of its impacts on China to uncertainty. He says that, in China, there is a common perception that Russia and Ukraine are comparable to China and Taiwan. Dr. Zhao then explains that the West’s comprehensive sanctions against Russia and military support for Ukraine reinforce China’s fear that the West seeks to strangle countries with different political systems. Finally, Dr. Zhao discusses how the invasion of Ukraine might change the global geopolitical landscape, and that he thinks the invasion will significantly impact China’s foreign policy going forward.

Assessing China’s Growing Air Incursions into Taiwan’s ADIZ: A Conversation with Kenneth W. Allen, Gerald C. Brown, and Thomas J. Shattuck

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, we are joined by Mr. Kenneth W. Allen, Mr. Gerald C. Brown, and Mr. Thomas J. Shattuck to discuss China’s People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) flight incursions into Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). They first define the PLA’s incursions as a tactic for China to undermine Taiwan’s sovereignty and explain how such actions impact China and Taiwan’s policy goals. They reveal that the PLA launches these incursions to serve as punishment and intimidation when it is dissatisfied with Taiwan’s policies or engagement with the international community. Additionally, they note that these sorties are far from replicating the amount of air power or coordination that China would need to launch an invasion of Taiwan. However, they also point out that it is likely future PLA incursions will grow in sophistication as China sees the importance of air superiority in the Ukraine conflict. Lastly, they assess that there is no evidence so far that China is taking advantage of current US and European attention on the Ukraine crisis to significantly increase military pressure on Taiwan.

The Evolving Nature of China-Australia Relations: A Conversation with Dr. Charles Edel

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Dr. Charles Edel joins us to unpack the relationship between Australia and China. Dr. Edel begins by navigating key moments of closeness and tension in the China-Australia relationship. In terms of policies towards China, he highlights the moderate approach of the Australian business community versus the more forward-leaning approach from the Australian government and the public. He notes that when faced with great economic pressure, “Australian businesses were able to diversify and find other markets quickly”. Dr. Edel also examines Australia’s participation in AUKUS and the Quad. He explains that Australia believes it needs to build up power projection capabilities, especially as China increases its presence in the Indo-Pacific. Additionally, he explains that China’s closeness to Russia amid the invasion of Ukraine propels an overarching negative sentiment towards China and prompts the Australian government to consider potential responses if China attacks Taiwan. Lastly, Dr. Edel asserts that despite the current downward trend in China-Australia relations, the relationship will eventually stabilize.

China and the International Human Rights Regime: A Conversation with Dr. Rana Siu Inboden

In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Dr. Rana Siu Inboden joins us to discuss China’s role and influence in the international human rights regime. Dr. Inboden begins by explaining how China’s views on human rights have evolved starting with Mao, through the Tiananmen Square massacre, and now under Xi Jinping. She argues that, while the West emphasizes civil and political rights, China focuses on and favors economic rights, especially the right to development. In addition, she adds that China believes human rights should be contingent based on a country’s national conditions. Lastly, she breaks down how China has succeeded in diminishing the work of the UN Human Rights Council and suppressing its own activists from participating in the international human rights regime.