Listen now (37 min) | Episode Notes: Today, we're going to talk about US-China relations, the upcoming Sixth Plenum , Xi Jinping, and what we might expect for the next year heading into the 2022 20th Party Congress among other topics. I'm really pleased that our first guest for the Sinocism Podcast is Chris Johnson, CEO of Consultancy China strategies Group, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic International Studies and former senior China analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency.
The PDB for China watchers. What a perfect moniker!
Hi Bill (and Chris),
You discuss in the last ten minutes of this episode the echoes of the 20th Congress with the 9th, citing that about 80% of the Central Committee positions were replaced in the 9th Congress. Your discussion then suggests that the amount of turnover in the 20th Congress might reflect the extent to which the Politburo and Politburo Standing Committee approve of Xi's performance on three key indicators (poverty, environmental improvement, and reigning in economic risk). I listened to this part several times and have some questions I'm hoping you can help elucidate.
1. How much turnover would you and Chris consider to be "significant" at the 20th Congress? 50%? 80%? Is there a typical amount of turnover that most experts agree is an "expected" amount? (Insert caveats about this third term being anomalous)
2. Would higher turnover indicate the Politburo and PSC approve of Xi's performance (as in, he did well and therefore has the freedom to replace more people with loyalists) or would lower turnover indicate their disapproval of Xi's performance (as in, he did not do well and he is afraid of the Party turning on him, so he makes moves to replace potential opposition with loyalists)?
Your input on these questions is vastly appreciated! Thank you.
It's easy to heap praise on both of you for the podcast #1, because you say much of what I have been saying. Mostly my reward is to be seen as an apologist for Xi Jinping in my journalistic circles. Do you suffer the same fate in your circles if you do not subscribe to imminent war over Taiwan, a refuse to consider the possibility that there is a model that works in China that is Chinese and not either anti-Western, or Communist dictatorship? It's frustrating driving down the model of a complex road.