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After an international tribunal rejected China's maritime claims surrounding its outposts in the Spratlys, China could try to use a number of planned offshore power platforms to justify the creation of expansive safety zones for their protection.

The restructuring of the Communist Party’s youth organization has been interpreted as motivated by Xi Jinping’s inner-party rivalries. But an overhaul of the organization is in the interest of the entire Party if it wants to reach a new generation.

Premier Li Keqiang receives scant international attention by China watchers who view Xi Jinping as the strong man at the top. Yet Li and the State Council have a bigger role than meets the eye.

Interview with Lynette Ong (via Young China Watchers)

The centralization of power and crackdown on dissent under Xi Jinping is weakening, not strengthening the Party, according to Lynette Ong, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. In this interview, which was previously published on the blog of Young China Watchers, she talks about attempts to quell social unrest and about the challenges of land reform and rural-urban Migration.

By Orville Schell (via ChinaFile)

By rejecting the ruling of the arbitration tribunal in The Hague China has diminished the chances of resolving its regional maritime disputes in a peaceful manner. This essay was originally published by ChinaFile, the online magazine of Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations.

China is a new player in the global knowledge economy dominated by Western countries and Japan, and to some extent by South Korea and Taiwan. Part two of this series assesses China’s potential to become a transformative force in global innovation.

In “China’s Core Executive”, the first MERICS Paper on China, international China experts examine decision-making structures and processes under Xi Jinping. To mark the publication’s launch, contributors debated their views in a MERICS China Dispute.

The dynamics of Chinese politics have changed considerably under Xi Jinping. In “China’s Core Executive”, the first MERICS Paper on China, international China experts examine decision-making structures and processes in Xi’s China. But before we start to debate leadership in China, Jessica Batke challenges us to check our own frame of reference.

The surge of Chinese FDI in Europe poses a novel challenge to investment regimes and competition policy. Policymakers should take concrete steps to deal with China's aggressive outbound industrial and technology policies and to prevent market distortions by state-controlled investors.

Interview with Arthur Kroeber

China will need economic and political reforms to keep up growth, says Arthur Kroeber of Gavecal Dragonomics, an independent research firm in Beijing. In this Podcast he argues that the transition to a new growth model won’t be possible without cutting back state-owned enterprises, restructuring financial markets, and promoting globally competitive innovation. “President Xi seems willing to sacrifice economic vitality to maintain political control.”

China has to introduce regional solidarity if it wants to become a high-income country. Fiscal redistribution could bridge the gap between rich and poor provinces.

Ting Guan

China allows local governments a lot of say in implementing environmental policy. This system may lead to uneven outcomes, especially when compared to environmental pioneers like Germany. But in light of vast regional differences, ‘one size fits all environmental policy implementation’ will not work in China. 

Interview with Thomas Eder

Tensions in the South China Sea could further escalate after a ruling by a UN tribunal expected within the next few weeks. China is likely to take provocative action should the court rule in favour of the Philippines, said MERICS fellow Thomas Eder. In our latest Podcast, Eder warns that the EU cannot afford to ignore this challenge in a region that includes important shipping routes for its trade with Asia.

Declaring the end of China’s one-child policy as a victory for civil liberties is premature. The Chinese government continues to intervene heavily in one of life’s most personal decisions and does not intend to give up control over family planning any time soon.

Interview with Daniel Leese

50 years after the start of the Cultural Revolution Xi Jinping tries to reconnect to China's Maoist heritage. But he won’t allow to mobilise the masses as Mao did, because he is afraid of losing control. Listen to Daniel Leese, professor of Chinese history at Freiburg University, in our MERICS Podcast.

China’s decision to subject foreign NGOs to strict government control has triggered international outrage. But the Overseas NGO Law, while further narrowing the space for political engagement in China, is not primarily an attempt to shut China off from Western influences. Rather, it is part of a strategy to develop a domestic – and domesticated – non-profit sector.

Worker unrest mirrors China’s falling growth rates. A growing number of labour protests in the private construction and manufacturing sector may cause the government to reconsider its plans for much-needed reforms in the state sector.

Interview with Yuen-ying Chan

Media freedom in China has suffered under president Xi Jinping, and Professor Yuen-ying Chan agrees that these are hard times for Chinese journalists. In our MERICS Podcast, the director of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre at Hongkong University also argues that independent journalism in China still exists.

As rising tensions in the South China Sea worry policymakers from Washington to Brussels, the US and the EU should seize the opportunity to cooperate with China in another part of the world. China’s growing role in the Mideast and its “One Belt, One Road” initiative could be a starting point for non-traditional maritime security cooperation.

The revelation that his brother-in-law used offshore tax havens to hide his wealth is more than an embarrassment for China’s president Xi Jinping. His anti-corruption campaign will only have domestic credibility once family members of the party leaders can be subjected to investigations.

Is the crack down on one of Hong Kong’s top newspapers a result of China’s stricter media policy or retaliation for a specific article? Or is it meant to boost the paper’s credibility as an independent news source before the impending takeover by Alibaba?

Rather than presiding over another round of double-digit growth in China’s military budget, President Xi Jinping wants to turn the world’s largest military into a truly modern armed force.

Like many other fragments of information that trickle out of the black box of China’s leadership, the new usage of the term “hexin” could mean several different—opposing—things.