Game Changer?: Elimination of Term Limits and Xi Jinping's Power



Joseph Fewsmith,
Professor of International Relations and Political Science, Boston University, Pardee School

Mary Gallagher,
Professor of Political Science; Director, Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan

Alice Miller,
Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Victor Shih,
Associate Professor, School of Global Policy & Strategy, University of California, San Diego

Date and Time

May 16, 2018 4:15 PM - 5:45 PM


RSVP Required.


Philippines Conference Room
Encina Hall, Third Floor, Central, C330
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305

Please note: RSVP's are full for this event. Please email PLABOON@STANFORD.EDU to add your name to the waitlist.


During its March 2018 National People’s Congress (NPC) meeting, the PRC’s national delegates voted nearly unanimously to eliminate term limits for China’s president and vice president. Alongside this dramatic announcement, the NPC further announced drastic re-organization of Party and state such that the Chinese state administration saw significant cuts, consolidation and centralization of power under the CCP.

At this watershed moment, leading experts on Chinese politics will examine what these Constitutional changes bode for China’s future and Xi Jinping’s rule. Are these game changers? Is China abandoning key parts of Deng Xiaoping’s legacy?  How will these affect China’s authoritarian resilience or governance system going forward?  What are the short- and long-term implications of this decision for China’s continuing stability, sustained economic growth and foreign policy?

Please join us for this special panel event with top China experts as they discuss the significance and implications of the recent NPC decisions and Constitutional amendments.

Joseph Fewsmith is professor of international relations and political science at the BU Pardee School. He is the author or editor of eight books, including, most recently, The Logic and Limits of Political Reform in China (January 2013). Other works include China since Tiananmen (2nd edition, 2008) and China Today, China Tomorrow (2010). Other books include Elite Politics in Contemporary China (2001), The Dilemmas of Reform in China: Political Conflict and Economic Debate (1994), and Party, State, and Local Elites in Republican China: Merchant Organizations and Politics in Shanghai, 1890-1930 (1985). He is one of the seven regular contributors to the China Leadership Monitor, a quarterly web publication analyzing current developments in China. Fewsmith travels to China regularly and is active in the Association for Asian Studies and the American Political Science Association. His articles have appeared in such journals as Asian Survey, Comparative Studies in Society and History, The China Journal, The China Quarterly, Current History, The Journal of Contemporary China, Problems of Communism, and Modern China. He is an associate of the John King Fairbank Center for East Asian Studies at Harvard University and the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer Range Future at Boston University.


Mary Gallagher is professor of political science at the University of Michigan as well as the director of the Kenneth G. Lieberthal and Richard H. Rogel Center for Chinese Studies. She received her Ph.D. in politics in 2001 from Princeton University and a B.A. from Smith College in 1991.  In 1989, she was a foreign student in China at Nanjing University. Gallagher later taught at the Foreign Affairs College in Beijing from 1996-1997 and was a Fulbright Research Scholar from 2003 to 2004 at East China University of Politics and Law in Shanghai, China. In 2012-2013, she was a visiting professor at the Koguan School of Law at Shanghai Jiaotong University. Her book, Authoritarian Legality in China: Law, Workers, and the State is out from Cambridge University Press this year. Gallagher have also written/edited several other books, including Contagious Capitalism:  Globalization and the Politics of Labor in China (Princeton 2005), Chinese Justice: Civil Dispute Resolution in Contemporary China (Cambridge 2011), From Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization:  Markets, Workers, and the State in a Changing China (Cornell 2011), and Contemporary Chinese Politics: New Sources, Methods, and Field Strategies (Cambridge 2010).


Alice Miller is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and lecturer in East Asian studies at Stanford. Miller first joined the Hoover Institution in 1999 as a visiting fellow. She also served as a senior lecturer in the Department of National Security Affairs at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, 1999-2014. Before coming to Stanford, Miller taught at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. From 1980 to 1990, she was a professorial lecturer in Chinese history and politics at SAIS. From 1990 to 2000, she was an associate professor of China studies and, for most of that period, director of the China Studies Program at SAIS. She also held a joint appointment as adjunct associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Johns Hopkins from 1996 to 1999 and as adjunct lecturer in the Department of Government, Georgetown University, from 1996 to 1998. From 1974 to 1990, Miller worked in the Central Intelligence Agency as a senior analyst in Chinese foreign policy and domestic politics and as a branch and division chief, supervising analysis on China, North Korea, Indochina, and Soviet policy in East Asia. Miller has lived and worked in Taiwan, Japan, and the People’s Republic of China; she speaks Mandarin Chinese.


Victor Shih is an associate professor of political economy at University of California, San Diego, and has published widely on the politics of Chinese banking policies, fiscal policies and exchange rates. He was the first analyst to identify the risk of massive local government debt, and is the author of Factions and Finance in China: Elite Conflict and Inflation. Prior to joining U.C. San Diego, Shih was a professor of political science at Northwestern University and former principal for The Carlyle Group.Shih is currently engaged in a study of how the coalition-formation strategies of founding leaders had a profound impact on the evolution of the Chinese Communist Party. He is also constructing a large database on biographical information of elites in China.


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