Technology

A screen showing a video of Chinese President Xi Jinping in an exhibition area at the Siasun Co. facility in the Lingang Special Area in Shanghai, China, on 25 August 2022. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

A new breed of technocratic elites in the Xi era: Countdown to the 20th Party Congress

Li Cheng, director of the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution, observes that a new breed of technocratic elites — the “technocrats 2.0” — have rapidly risen to the national leadership in China. What are the major differences between technocrats in the Jiang-Hu eras and the Xi era?
This handout image taken on 9 August 2022 and released by the Eastern Theater Command of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) on 10 August 2022 shows a PLA fighter jet taking part in a military drill in an undisclosed location. (Handout/Eastern Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army/AFP)

Prominent PLA elites in 'the cosmos club': Countdown to the 20th Party Congress

Li Cheng, director of the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution, notes that well-educated and professionally capable military technocrats are prominently represented in the PLA leadership, and this trend is set to continue after the 20th Party Congress. What contributions will this new corps of military technocrats make as Xi Jinping heads into a likely third term?
Visitors near a screen displaying an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Museum of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, China, 3 September 2022. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

[Future of China] Xi Jinping and the world: Retrospect and prospect

As the 20th Party Congress approaches, US academic Robert S. Ross assesses China’s foreign policy record over the last ten years and weighs up China’s foreign policy priorities in the likely third term of President Xi Jinping’s leadership. This is the last in a five-part series of articles on the future of China.
New British Prime Minister Liz Truss walks outside Number 10 Downing Street, in London, Britain, 7 September 2022. (John Sibley/File Photo/Reuters)

UK-China policy under Liz Truss likely to align with US outlook

While the UK’s China policy would largely be business as usual with new Conservative Prime Minister Liz Truss at the helm, China may be in for a tougher time where it counts as the UK finds a renewed opportunity to influence European partners to work in concert with the US against China.
Sensing that I'm drawn to such content, Douyin’s algorithm recommended more stories of Chinese families that tug at the heartstrings. (Screenshots provided by Jessie Tan)

Singaporean in China: China's poor no longer beg, they livestream

Former journalist Jessie Tan muses over the phenomenon of those in need transitioning from begging on the streets to selling goods on Douyin. While the poor or disabled have been given a more dignified and effective source of income, this is just one aspect of the good that comes with social media and technology.
Onlookers watch the launch of a rocket transporting China’s second module for its Tiangong space station from the Wenchang spaceport in southern China on 24 July 2022. (CNS/AFP)

Rocket scientists in China's party leadership: Countdown to the 20th Party Congress

The rapid rise of “the cosmos club” has paralleled China's rising aspiration to take on a prominent role in the international “space club”. Li Cheng, director of the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution, takes a closer look at the career paths and institutional associations of emerging rocket scientists in China’s national and provincial leadership.
Men twirl dragon streamers on the Bund promenade along the Huangpu River during sunrise in Shanghai, China, on 7 September 2022. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

[State of our world] China’s future in a politicised world

As the world rapidly shifts from an economic one to a highly political one, competition will no longer be about who wins more but about who loses less. In the shift from a win-win to a zero-sum game, China is torn as it strives to get closer to the developed world yet seeks to maintain a distance from the third world and Russia. In navigating these troubled waters, three critical developments — relations with Russia, Taiwan, and decoupling from the West — may alter the fate of China. This is the last in a series of four articles contemplating a changing world order.
A model of China's Tiangong space station is seen at the Apsara Conference, a cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) conference, in Hangzhou, in China's eastern Zhejiang province on 19 October 2021. (STR/AFP)

The rapid rise of 'the cosmos club' in the Xi Jinping era: Countdown to the 20th Party Congress

The presence of leaders in the CCP Central Committee with aerospace backgrounds is not new, but this group has never penetrated the national and provincial levels of leadership at the rate and scale that it has during the Xi Jinping era. Two and perhaps even three of them will be strong contenders for the Politburo at the 20th Party Congress, and most of them will play an important role in Xi Jinping’s third term and beyond, says Li Cheng, director of the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution.
People ride on scooters across a street during morning rush hour, in Beijing, China, 2 August 2022. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

[State of our world] The world will be very different from the one we're used to

In a changed world post-pandemic and against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, Asia will face pressure from competing minilateral coalitions amid the breakdown of multilateralism and the weakening global and regional institutions. This time, it may not be so easy not to take sides, says Professor C. Raja Mohan. This is the second in a series of four articles contemplating a changing world order.