Archive for March, 2015

Policy Alert: Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Sparks Debates in Asia and Beyond

AIIBDecisions by America’s European allies-the U.K., Germany, France, and Italy-to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), a new China-led multilateral development institution for Asia, generated debates about Beijing’s potential challenge to existing global financial institutions, such as the IMF, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and about Washington’s response to this challenge. Despite its initial opposition to the Chinese initiative, the Obama administration recently reversed its position, proposing to co-finance projects with the AIIB by utilizing existing multilateral institutions. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Japan, and South Korea, as well as the United States and European countries on the AIIB.

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Responding to U.S. concerns regarding the bank’s standards of governance, some Chinese media brushed over these concerns, instead urging the United States to ‘get on the boat.’ (more…)

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RPI Author David Shambaugh: The Coming Chinese Crackup

Shambaugh WSJ columnRPI author David Shambaugh discusses the future – and a potential demise – of the communist rule in China in the wake of the National People’s Congress’ annual session last week. This op-ed originally appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

The endgame of communist rule in China has begun, and Xi Jinping’s ruthless measures are only bringing the country closer to a breaking point.

On Thursday, the National People’s Congress convened in Beijing in what has become a familiar annual ritual. Some 3,000 “elected” delegates from all over the country—ranging from colorfully clad ethnic minorities to urbane billionaires—will meet for a week to discuss the state of the nation and to engage in the pretense of political participation.

Some see this impressive gathering as a sign of the strength of the Chinese political system—but it masks serious weaknesses. Chinese politics has always had a theatrical veneer, with staged events like the congress intended to project the power and stability of the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP. Officials and citizens alike know that they are supposed to conform to these rituals, participating cheerfully and parroting back official slogans. This behavior is known in Chinese as biaotai, “declaring where one stands,” but it is little more than an act of symbolic compliance.

Despite appearances, China’s political system is badly broken, and nobody knows it better than the Communist Party itself. China’s strongman leader, Xi Jinping, is hoping that a crackdown on dissent and corruption will shore up the party’s rule. He is determined to avoid becoming the Mikhail Gorbachev of China, presiding over the party’s collapse. But instead of being the antithesis of Mr. Gorbachev, Mr. Xi may well wind up having the same effect. His despotism is severely stressing China’s system and society—and bringing it closer to a breaking point. (more…)

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Policy Alert: U.S. Fight against Islamic State Spurs Reactions from Rising Powers

policyalert_ISIS_Obama

Last month, President Barack Obama held a world anti-terrorism summit in Washington, D.C., calling on more than 60 nations to join the fight against “violent extremism.” During the summit, he reiterated his position not to call war against Islamic State (IS) as a religious one and emphasized the need to address the social origins of terrorism, such as twisted interpretations of Islam, local economic grievances, and IS propaganda. This followed a series of terrorist attacks in Paris, Sydney, Copenhagen, and Ottawa, and the White House’s request to Congress for a new war authorizationagainst the terrorist group. In this Policy Alert, we examine commentary from China, Russia, India, South Korea, and Japan on the recent development on the fight against IS.

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Chinese editorials expressed dissatisfaction in the way the United States has dealt with terrorism. (more…)

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