Before China opened up to the outside world, intelligence analysts and academics used the techniques of “Pekingology” to decode open media sources, where political tensions and policy adjustments were often signaled by subtle shifts in official rhetoric. Despite the wealth of new information sources, that skill is still necessary today, and it is practiced at a high level by the six regular contributors to the China Leadership Monitor, a quarterly online publication of the Hoover Institution. Each issue tracks the latest developments in Chinese foreign policy, military affairs, economic policy, Communist Party politics, and events in the provinces. In a recent issue, for example, Michael Swaine sorted out the political and economic motives behind Chinese President Xi Jinping’s July 2014 trip to Latin America, Barry Naughton discussed the party’s ambiguous signals on economic reform, and Cheng Li identified 17 officials who have risen to high office thanks to having served in the provinces with Xi.
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