Daniel Leese: "The Legacy of the Cultural Revolution"

May 13, 2016

50 years after the start of the Cultural Revolution Xi Jinping tries to reconnect to Chinas Maoist heritage. He won’t allow to mobilise the masses as Mao did, because he is afraid of losing control said Professor Daniel Leese in our MERICS Podcast.

Kenneth Lieberthal: China under President Xi Jinping

March 1, 2016

President Xi Jinping is the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong. He has centralised power and has cracked down hard on dissent. But, argues Kenneth Lieberthal of the Brookings Institution in Washington, Xi’s tight grip on power doesn’t necessarily make him a more efficient leader.

Jonathan Pollack: North Korea, South China Sea & Sino-US relations

February 28, 2016

As the UN Security Council negotiates a resolution that would impose new sanctions on North Korea following Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test earlier this year, pressure is mounting on China to act more assertively towards its neighbour and ally. “China must be prepared to be much tougher on North Korea than it has been so far”, says Jonathan Pollack of the Brookings Institution. He discusses North Korea, the South China Sea and Sino-US relations in the new Merics Experts Podcast.

How Europe can help prevent an escalation in the South China Sea


Friction in the South China Sea shows no sign of abating as China continues its military build-up. The situation could further escalate when an international tribunal rules on a case brought by the Philippines after decades-long negotiations over territorial disputes with China had reached a dead end. A tense months-long standoff with China over fishing grounds around Scarborough Shoal in 2012 triggered Manila’s decision to seek outside help.

"China’s strong man Xi Jinping heads a very fragile system"

Xi Jinping has centralized power in China to unprecedented levels: he has sidelined the prime minister and the state council and tries to control everything himself, says Harvard historian Roderick MacFarquhar in the new MERICS Podcast. Xi  might have a vision for China – like Mao Zedong long before him - but he lacks the authority and historic legitimacy to implement his ideas. Even worse: his leadership style weakens the entire system.

Questions: Ruth Kirchner

"Xi Jinping's China is a model for authoritarian leaders"

The Xi administration has been “extraordinarily successful” in controlling and shaping political communication especially online, according to Anthony Saich of Harvard Kennedy School. “If I were an authoritarian leader, I would want to learn lessons from China,” Saich says in this MERICS Podcast. Moreover, laws constraining foreign NGOs while encouraging domestic charity work for causes close to the CCP’s priorities tend to further reduce space for association and new ideas.

Questions: Ruth Kirchner