China Program faculty and fellows regularly author books, book chapters, and articles that appear in peer-reviewed academic journals and acclaimed scholarly and trade presses. We also share the outcomes of our research projects and the proceedings of our conferences, workshops, and policy outreach activities in monographs and other volumes that are disseminated through the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center’s publishing program jointly with Stanford University Press and the Brookings Institution. Browse our publications below.
Charlotte P. Lee considers organizational changes taking place within the contemporary Chinese Communist Party (CCP), examining the party's renewed emphasis on an understudied but core set of organizations: party-managed training academies or 'party schools'. This national network of organizations enables party authorities to exert political control over the knowledge, skills, and careers of officials.
China has amassed great power over the past 35 years, leaving many to query: how should America evaluate the risks that China poses to its interests? Miscalculating China’s ambitions and capabilities could leave the United States strategically vulnerable. Eikenberry argues that useful analysis derives from a deep understanding of China’s current position in both regional and international affairs, and of the internal and external constraints it faces.
In the first five years after the onset of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, one of the largest political upheavals of the twentieth century paralyzed a highly centralized party state, leading to a harsh regime of military control. Despite a wave of post-Mao revelations in the 1980s, knowledge about the nationwide impact of this insurgency and its suppression remains selective and impressionistic, based primarily on a handful of local accounts.
China’s Communist Party seized power in 1949 after a long period of guerrilla insurgency followed by full-scale war, but the Chinese revolution was just beginning. China Under Mao narrates the rise and fall of the Maoist revolutionary state from 1949 to 1976—an epoch of startling accomplishments and disastrous failures, steered by many forces but dominated above all by Mao Zedong.
In the third annual Nancy Bernkopf Tucker Memorial Lecture on U.S.-East Asia Relations, Thomas Fingar, Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford, former deputy director of national intelligence for analysis and former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, discusses U.S. policy toward China. The speech titled "The United States and China: Same Bed, Different Dreams, Shared Destiny" was delivered at The Wilson Center in Washington, D.C., on April 20, 2015. Links to English and Chinese versions are listed below.
Transitions from state socialism created a startling range of initial economic outcomes, from renewed growth to deep economic crises. Debates about the causes have largely ignored the political disruptions due to regime change that coincided with sudden initial recessions, and they have defined the problem as relative growth rates over time rather than abrupt short-run collapse. Political disruptions were severe when states broke apart into newly independent units, leading to hyperinflation, armed warfare, or both.
The conference is designed to illustrate the scope and variety of the security challenges we face and I commend both the organizers and the presenters. I have learned much and am confident you have as well. Others have addressed specific challenges; my assignment is to provide a big picture perspective that will provide context and a framework for understanding the nature of the world we live in and the types of challenges we face.
Toward that end, I will organize my remarks around three interrelated questions:
The “Nanjing Incident” of late March 1976 was a precursor of, and according to some analysts a trigger for, the more famous Tiananmen Square demonstrations of 4-5 April. The two protests have widely been interpreted as spontaneous outpourings of dissent from Cultural Revolution radicalism, expressed through mourning for the recently deceased Premier Zhou Enlai.
State socialist economies provided public housing to urban citizens at nominal cost, while allocating larger and better quality apartments to individuals in elite occupations. In transitions to a market economy, ownership is typically transferred to existing occupants at deeply discounted prices, making home equity the largest component of household wealth. Housing privatization is therefore a potentially important avenue for the conversion of bureaucratic privilege into private wealth.
China has benefited from the liberal international order led by the United States. However, China is uncomfortable with aspects of the current system and will seek to change them as part of a broader effort to reform global institutions to reflect its perception of 21st-century realities. One set of shaping factors—China’s assessment of the current world order—identifies much that Chinese leaders would be reluctant to change because they want to continue to reap benefits without assuming greater burdens.
Alternate Trajectories of the Roles and Influence of China and the United States in Northeast Asia and the Implications for Future Power Configurations
"Whether China and the United States maintain basically cooperative or fundamentally antagonistic relations obviously has very different implications for the region and for the prospects and policies of others in—and beyond—NEA," states Thomas Fingar in the chapter "Alternate Trajectories of the Roles and Influence of China and the United States in Northeast Asia and the Implications for Future Power Configurations" (One Step Back? Reassessing an Ideal Security State for Asia 2025, 2011).
As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) set about reforming its centrally planned economy, it faced the thorny policy question of how to reform its state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Should it support a shift from public to private ownership of the means of production? Such a shift would challenge not only the CCP's socialist ideology but also its very legitimacy. Mixing the business of corporate restructuring with the politics of socialism presented nothing short of a policy nightmare.
For the peasants in rural China, the harvest season is the occasion when several different worlds—the business world of large companies, the entrepreneurial world of middlemen, local elites and peasant households—are compressed into the same social space, thereby inducing intensive economic and social interactions and crystallizing social relations among villagers, local elites and markets.
Drawing on insights from recent economic theories of incomplete contracts and property rights, we develop a theoretical model on authority relationships in the Chinese bureaucracy by conceptualizing the allocation of control rights in goal setting, inspection and incentive provision among the principal, supervisor and agent. Variations in the allocation of control rights give rise to different modes of governance and entail distinct behavioral implications among the parties involved.
Rethinking Property Rights as a Relational Concept: Access to Financial Resources Among Small and Mid-Sized Firms
The prevailing image in the economic and legal literature portrays property rights as “a bundle of rights” and emphasizes their exclusivity, autonomy, and stability. Building on Zhou (2005), the authors elaborate and illustrate an alternative theoretical model to conceptualize property rights as a relational concept. They argue that the formation and evolution of property rights reflect ongoing social relations between an organization and its key stakeholders within and outside its boundaries.
The Road to Collective Debt in Rural China: Bureaucracies, Social Institutions, and Public Goods Provision
Focusing on the episodes of the government’s Paved Road to Every Village (PREV) project in an agricultural township in northern China, this article examines two research issues: First, the role of state policies, government bureaucracies, and village cadres in the provision of public goods, especially the unintended consequences that led to huge collective debts and the erosion of the collective basis of governance and second, the role of local institutions and social relations in resource mobilization, problem solving, and response to crises, especially in the aftermath of the PREV project
China's protracted regional conflicts of 1967 and 1968 have long been understood as struggles between conservative and radical forces whose opposed interests were so deeply rooted in existing patterns of power and privilege that they defied the imposition of military control.
Over the past decade, the ownership and control of China's corporate sector has finally begun to depart fundamentally from patterns typical in the socialist past. Students of corporate governance have watched these changes with an intense curiosity about their impact on firm performance. Students of comparative economic institutions have examined them for hints of a new variety of Asian capitalism and have sought to anticipate China's international competitiveness and impact.
Mass factions in China during the first two years of the Cultural Revolution have long been understood as interest groups: collections of individuals who shared interests due to common occupations, statuses, or party affiliations. An alternative view, developed primarily with evidence about the distinctive case of Beijing students, emphasizes not the characteristics of participants but histories of political encounters in collapsing bureaucratic hierarchies.
Numerous countries have transitioned away from state socialism since the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union and its satellite states two decades ago. At the core of this phenomenon, suggests Andrew G. Walder, is “a radical change in the definition, enforcement, and allocation of various rights over property.” In the chapter “Transitions from State Socialism: A Property Rights Perspective” (The Sociology of Economic Life, 2011), Walder examines property rights changes within the context of the transition from state socialism in Hungary, China, and Vietnam.