The CCP Politburo holds “collective study sessions” on a semi-regular basis, in which an outside academic or government expert leads a discussion on a selected topic. Such sessions are important signals as to what issues the senior leadership finds important. The tenth collective study session of the 20th Central Committee Politburo was held on November 27, 2023 and was presided over by Xi Jinping. At this session, Xi delivered a speech emphasizing the need to train more lawyers and Party cadres in the legal systems of other countries, improve legal services for Chinese citizens and businesses abroad and foreign businesses in China, and better leverage overseas courts and laws to protect China’s interests.
The CCP Politburo holds “collective study sessions” on a semi-regular basis, in which an outside academic or government expert leads a discussion on a selected topic. Such sessions are important signals as to what issues the senior leadership finds important. The eighth collective study session of the 20th Central Committee Politburo was held on September 27, 2023 and was presided over by Xi Jinping. At this session, Xi delivered a speech to Party cadres where he emphasized the need for China to participate in WTO reform, enhance its attractiveness to foreign investment, and improve its position in global value chains.
A prominent scholar of China-Africa relations argues that other major powers with a presence in Africa are increasingly wary of China’s activity on the continent. Since continued economic and political engagement in Africa is in China’s interests, Zhang argues, Beijing should maximize its room for maneuver by allaying such concerns. While Beijing should tailor strategies by country, Zhang advocates showing “due consideration” for other countries’ goals in Africa where they do not impinge on China’s core interests, pursuing opportunities for cooperation where they present themselves, and limiting unnecessarily provocative activities.
Researchers at Yunnan University and East China University of Political Science argue China’s aid and investment to Africa are inaccurately portrayed by Western countries as “debt trap diplomacy,” exacerbating sovereign debt risks in African countries and driven primarily by strategic rather than commercial objectives. To rebut and limit the reach of such arguments, the authors suggest Beijing seek ways to diversify Chinese investment and aid across sectors and projects, help Chinese enterprises assess investment risk and follow laws and social norms of host countries, better target aid to national development conditions, and strengthen media engagement in Africa and the West.
A scholar from the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies argues that China’s economic engagement in Africa has become more complicated given a mix of external and internal factors – including souring relations between China and Western powers, and the shifting demands and expectations of African countries. As a prognosis, the author suggests that Beijing should enhance the complementarity and tangible impact of its global initiatives, devote greater attention to green development and other emerging development needs in Africa, and develop consultation mechanisms with African countries to address “pain points” as they arise.
This 2020 article by Li Hui, China’s Special Representative for Eurasian Affairs and the former ambassador to Russia, argues for closer Sino-Russian relations under the banner of a “comprehensive strategic partnership.” Li suggests that in the years ahead, the two countries will continue to deepen economic integration, coordinate diplomatic outreach to developing countries, and jointly promote governance reform in multilateral institutions.
Gao Xiang, President of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, details the motivations and intent behind China’s Global Civilization Initiative (GCI) proposed by Xi Jinping in March 2023. The Chinese development experience, Gao suggests, shows that viable paths to modernization extend beyond what he describes as the Western capitalist model. For Gao, the GCI will democratize international relations in the face of perceived “power politics and hegemonism” of other major powers by institutionalizing people-to-people and cultural exchanges, thereby engendering greater respect for the diversity of national histories, cultures, and conditions.
This piece from the U.S. studies program at Ministry of State Security-linked think tank China Institutes for Contemporary International Relations argues that the Ukraine war heralds the end of the post-Cold War order. The article argues the United States has been the biggest beneficiary of the war so far, leveraging the crisis to strengthen its alliance network and fight a proxy war with Russia. The authors of the report warn countries in Asia to remain vigilant to what they describe as U.S. efforts to preserve and expand its hegemony in ways that might destabilize the region.
Wu Riqiang, a senior security expert from Renmin University, argues that Cold War arms control negotiations between the U.S. and Soviet Union showcase the importance of regular bilateral dialogue and transparency in military modernization to build confidence and avoid miscalculations between nuclear superpowers. As China’s security environment sours and tensions with the United States rise, Wu proposes that Beijing draw lessons from this historical example to develop an arms control approach that best safeguards national interests and security.
Scholars from People’s Liberation Army Naval Medical University develop guidelines for U.S.-China cooperation on global vaccine distribution by examining U.S.-Soviet Union cooperation on smallpox eradication during the Cold War. In the context of COVID-19 and future pandemics, the authors suggest that both Washington and Beijing should increase vaccine supply to the developing world, coordinate efforts to combat local vaccine hesitancy, and develop venues for information-sharing among scientists and medical professionals across the two countries.