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China Brief

A weekly digest of the stories you should be following in China, plus exclusive analysis. Delivered Wednesday.

A screen shows a news broadcast featuring former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin in Beijing on Nov. 30.
A screen shows a news broadcast featuring former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin in Beijing on Nov. 30.

What Jiang Zemin’s Death Means for the CCP

The former leader’s mourning period creates an opportunity for public gathering—and political plotting.

An epidemic control worker stands in a nearly empty street in Beijing’s Central Business District on Nov. 23.
An epidemic control worker stands in a nearly empty street in Beijing’s Central Business District on Nov. 23.

New Outbreaks Test China’s Appetite for Reopening

Rising cases have reversed recent changes to the zero-COVID policy, putting cities back under semi-lockdown.

U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping
U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping

Did the Xi-Biden Summit Cool Tensions?

Taiwan remains the biggest challenge to the U.S.-China relationship.

Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomes German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Beijing on Nov. 4.
Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomes German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Beijing on Nov. 4.

Secure at Home, Xi Steps Back Onto the Global Stage

The Chinese leader met Olaf Scholz last week before appearances in Indonesia and Thailand later this month.

People visit the Bund promenade with the financial district of Lujiazui in the background in Shanghai on Oct. 24.
People visit the Bund promenade with the financial district of Lujiazui in the background in Shanghai on Oct. 24.

China’s Markets React to Xi’s Third Term

Chinese stocks tumbled after the Party Congress, but with no clear reopening plan, Beijing has bigger economic problems.

China-ccp-standing-committee-HP
China-ccp-standing-committee-HP

Who’s Who on the New CCP Standing Committee

The most important leaders in China know how to follow orders.

People watch the opening session of the 20th Chinese National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in Huaibei, China, on Oct. 16.
People watch the opening session of the 20th Chinese National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in Huaibei, China, on Oct. 16.

What Did Xi Say at China’s 20th Party Congress?

The Chinese leader received rapturous applause during his opening speech, but he didn’t offer a clear plan for confronting ongoing crises.

Party members walk by an image showing Chinese President Xi Jinping at an exhibition highlighting his years as leader as part of the upcoming 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party on Oct. 12 in Beijing.
Party members walk by an image showing Chinese President Xi Jinping at an exhibition highlighting his years as leader as part of the upcoming 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party on Oct. 12 in Beijing.

What to Expect at China’s 20th Party Congress

The first thing to understand about the event is that the internal power struggles have already happened.

China-brief-book-roundup
China-brief-book-roundup

8 Books to Read Ahead of China’s 20th Party Congress

These picks each offer piercing insight into how Chinese politics really works.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation leaders' summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Sept. 16.
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation leaders' summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Sept. 16.

What a False Coup Rumor Reveals About Chinese Politics

A baseless story briefly went viral, showing how much of the world misunderstands Beijing’s inner workings.

People line up to be tested for COVID-19 next to a propaganda poster showing Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Aug. 31.
People line up to be tested for COVID-19 next to a propaganda poster showing Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Aug. 31.

Bus Crash Amplifies Zero-COVID Frustration

Discontent with the restrictive policy seems to serve as a proxy for discontent with Xi Jinping’s government itself.

Chinese President Xi Jinping leaves the podium following his speech in Hong Kong on July 1.
Chinese President Xi Jinping leaves the podium following his speech in Hong Kong on July 1.

Homebody Xi Finally Steps Outside China

The Chinese leader’s first overseas trip since January 2020 takes him to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, where he’ll meet his Russian counterpart.

People walk in front of a residential area under lockdown due to COVID-19 restrictions in Beijing on June 23.
People walk in front of a residential area under lockdown due to COVID-19 restrictions in Beijing on June 23.

China’s COVID-19 Stagnation Has No End in Sight

The endless cycle of lockdowns will likely lead to long-lasting political and economic consequences.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi takes part in a press conference on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Aug. 5.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi takes part in a press conference on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Aug. 5.

Beijing’s Diplomacy Suffers in Europe

Estonia and Latvia are the latest countries to back out of a forum with China, undermining its efforts on the continent.

A Taiwanese military outpost is seen beyond anti-landing spikes along the coast in Kinmen, Taiwan, on Aug. 10.
A Taiwanese military outpost is seen beyond anti-landing spikes along the coast in Kinmen, Taiwan, on Aug. 10.

Why Doesn’t China Invade Taiwan?

Despite Beijing’s rhetoric, a full-scale invasion remains a risky endeavor—and officials think the island can be coerced into reunification.

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Reporters’ Notebook — Winter and the War

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As Russia’s war in Ukraine continues into 2023, the weather will have an important impact. Ukrainians, of course, are more vulnerable than usual to power outages and energy shocks. But Rus...Show more

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Ramachandra Guha on Modi’s India

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely the most popular elected leader in the world. No other politician has won so many votes in history. Few other incumbent leaders around the world...Show more

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JULY 15: EU Commissioner for European Green Deal - First Vice President and Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans talks to to media in the Berlaymont building, the EU Commission headquarter on July 15, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium. EU Commissioners talked about making transport greener. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JULY 15: EU Commissioner for European Green Deal - First Vice President and Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans talks to to media in the Berlaymont building, the EU Commission headquarter on July 15, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium. EU Commissioners talked about making transport greener. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

The Road After COP27

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