CSIS | Center for Strategic and International Studies

A podcast unpacking critical issues underpinning China’s emergence as a global power.

  • 39 minutes 31 seconds
    The Implications of the Putin-Kim Summit: A Conversation with Dr. Victor Cha

    In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Dr. Victor Cha joins us to discuss his major takeaways from the June 2024 Putin-Kim summit and the significance of North Korea and Russia’s new mutual defense clause for the international community. Dr. Cha dissects how North Korea's relationships with Russia and China have evolved over time and notes that the new defense clause gives North Korea an opportunity to leverage its closer relationship with Russia to its advantage vis-a-vis North Korea-China relations. Dr. Cha explains the global and regional implications of the mutual defense agreement. Finally, Dr. Cha discusses his recommendations for how the United States, South Korea, and other and allies and partners should address this growing relationship. 

    *This podcast was recorded prior to the 2024 NATO DC Summit. 

    Dr. Victor Cha is a Senior Vice President for Asia and holds the CSIS Korea Chair. He is professor of government and holds the D.S. Song-KF Chair in the Department of Government and the School of Foreign Service (SFS) at Georgetown University. In July 2019, he was appointed vice dean for faculty and graduate affairs in SFS. While working for the White House between 2004-2007, Dr. Cha was the director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council. He was responsible primarily for Japan, the Korean peninsula, Australia/New Zealand, and Pacific Island nation affairs. Dr. Cha was also the deputy head of delegation for the United States at the Six-Party Talks in Beijing. He is the author of five books, including the award-winning Alignment Despite Antagonism: The United States-Korea-Japan Security Triangle. 

    18 July 2024, 6:30 pm
  • 44 minutes 27 seconds
    China’s Ethnic Minority Policy: A Conversation with Dr. Aaron Glasserman

    In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Dr. Aaron Glasserman joins us to discuss China’s ethnic minority policies. Dr. Glasserman speaks to the makeup of China’s 55 ethnic minority populations and the evolution of China’s policies towards the groups. Dr. Glasserman discusses the idea that the CCP’s recognition and treatment of these groups is in large part an effort to reinforce its historic identity. He underscores President Xi Jinping’s efforts to prioritize the Han identity and facilitate ethnic fusion into one common entity through assimilation and sinicization of other minorities with the Han. Finally, Dr. Glasserman shares how these ethnic minority groups have not been able to organize collectively and pushback against CCP policies. He assesses that China’s policies towards its ethnic minorities have not significantly impacted China’s international image or foreign policy. 

    Aaron Glasserman is a current Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies and a former postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University’s Paul and Martha Withes Center on Contemporary China. He earned his PhD from Columbia University in 2021, with his dissertation focusing on the history of the Hui Muslim ethnic group in China. Dr. Glasserman has written for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The China Quarterly, ChinaFile, Project Syndicate, and other publications, with areas of expertise in China’s ethnic politics and Islam in China. He is a current Wilson China Fellow at the Wilson Center. 

    3 July 2024, 2:32 pm
  • 36 minutes 58 seconds
    Takeaways from the 2024 Shangri-La Dialogue: A Conversation with Meia Nouwens

    In this episode of the ChinaPower podcast Meia Nouwens joins us to discuss the major themes and takeaways from the 2024 Shangri-La Dialogue. She discusses this year’s record number of high-level participants and the significance of the dialogue for regional security. Nouwens unpacks both Chinese Defense Minister Dong Jun’s and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s speeches and analyzes what they can tell us about the current state of U.S.-China relations. Finally, Nouwens speaks to how China’s participation and actions this year differed from previous years and what messages China may have been conveying regarding its approach to global security going forward.

    Meia Nouwens is a senior fellow for Chinese Security and Defense Policy at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).  Her expertise lies in Chinese cross-service defense analysis, China’s defense industry and innovation, as well as China’s regional strategic affairs and international relations. She leads IISS research on China’s Digital Silk Road and was a co-lead of the China Security Project with the Mercator Institute for China Studies. Prior to commencing at IISS, she worked for the European External Action Service as a policy officer in Taipei, and as a trade analyst in the EU’s delegation to New Zealand. Meia holds a BA Hons in international relations and political science from Macquarie University, a master’s in international relations and diplomacy from Leiden University in conjunction with the Clingendael Institute, and an MPhil in modern Chinese studies from the University of Oxford and Peking University.

    21 June 2024, 5:02 pm
  • 41 minutes 50 seconds
    China’s Upstart Strategy: A Conversation with Dr. Oriana Skylar Mastro

    In this episode of the ChinaPower podcast, Dr. Oriana Skylar Mastro joins us to discuss her new book, Upstart, which provides a fresh perspective on China’s rise to great power status. Dr. Mastro analyzes China’s innovative buildup of power over the past 30 years through three distinct approaches: emulation, exploitation, and entrepreneurship. Dr. Mastro explores ways China has mirrored U.S. activities, capitalized on U.S. blind spots, and embraced innovative approaches. Dr. Mastro argues that the Upstart lens allows us to better understand Chinese strategic calculations. Finally, Dr. Mastro explains her recommendations to US policy makers, such as increasing U.S. “entrepreneurship” with respect to disputes in the South China Sea, and provides her predictions for China’s approach in the coming decade.

    Dr. Oriana Skylar Mastro is a Center Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and Courtesy Assistant Professor of Political Science at Stanford University, where her research focuses on Chinese military and security policy, Asia-Pacific security issues, war termination, and coercive diplomacy. She is also a nonresident scholar, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and continues to serve in the United States Air Force Reserve at the Pentagon. For her contributions to U.S. strategy in Asia, she won the Individual Reservist of the Year Award in 2016 and 2022 (FGO). She has published widely, including in International Security, Security Studies, Foreign Affairs, Journal of Strategic Studies, The Washington Quarterly, the Economist and the New York Times. 

    7 June 2024, 1:47 pm
  • 38 minutes 10 seconds
    Taiwan's Upcoming Presidential Inauguration: A Conversation with Dr. Lauren Dickey

    In this episode of the China Power Podcast, Dr. Lauren Dickey joins us to discuss Taiwan’s upcoming inauguration of president-elect William Lai. Dr. Dickey dives into her predictions for Lai’s presidency and potential responses in the coming months from Beijing. She discusses what she thinks will be a continuation from Lai of his predecessor’s pragmatic approach in cross-Strait relations and that he will continue to seek stable footing with Beijing. Further, given the number of domestic issues China must currently contend with, Dr. Dickey explains it is unlikely China will make any majors moves towards a large-scale conflict in the near future; rather, she predicts Beijing will likely respond to the inauguration with familiar grey zone activity towards Taiwan. Dr. Dickey speaks to the divided legislature that Lai will face, explaining he will likely have to facilitate certain trade-offs with the KMT in order to ensure legislation is passed. Finally, she gives her prediction for the Lai administration’s defense priorities and what that will mean for the US-Taiwan defense relationship.

    Dr. Lauren Dickey is currently the senior manager for geopolitical intelligence at Harman International Industries and a non-resident senior associate to the CSIS China Power Project. Previously, Lauren served as the senior advisor and acting director for Taiwan policy in the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD).  In this capacity, she led the development and implementation of all elements of the U.S.-Taiwan defense relationship for the DoD.  Prior to her position in the DoD, Lauren was a research scientist focused on Chinese military issues and China's evolving presence in the Indo-Pacific at the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA).

    17 May 2024, 2:17 pm
  • 42 minutes 24 seconds
    Unpacking China’s PLA Restructuring: A Conversation with Dr. Joel Wuthnow

    In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Dr. Joel Wuthnow joins us to discuss China’s recent restructuring of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and particularly the disbanding of its Strategic Support Force and establishment of a new Information Support Force. Dr. Wuthnow explains the major organizational changes involved and how the new force fits into China’s overall military structure. He argues that while the PLA has long recognized the importance of dominating the information domain, this move suggests dissatisfaction with the previous organizational structure and its ability to effectively integrate capabilities for modern information warfare. He explains that these reforms do not indicate an acceleration of China’s military modernization goals or a shift towards a more offensive posture. Finally, Dr. Wuthnow shares his expectations for changes and priorities that may take shape for the PLA in the future.

    Dr. Wuthnow is a senior research fellow at the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs within the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University. His research areas include Chinese foreign and security policy, Chinese military affairs, U.S.-China relations, and strategic developments in East Asia. Dr. Wuthnow also serves as an adjunct professor in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

    9 May 2024, 6:26 pm
  • 34 minutes 56 seconds
    China’s Leftover Women: A Conversation with Dr. Leta Hong Fincher

    In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Dr. Leta Hong Fincher joins us to discuss the legal and social status of women in China. Dr. Fincher, who has written widely on gender issues in the PRC, reviews the history of Chinese marriage and divorce policies with an eye towards China’s contemporary feminist movements. She speaks to how the privatization of housing in the 1990s led to widening gender income gaps and the way women are increasingly discriminated against in the workplace. She highlights, amidst China’s ongoing demographic struggles, the plight of so-called “leftover women,” or sheng nu, who are faced with growing government and societal pressure to marry and start families. Dr. Fincher concludes by discussing the future of feminism in China, emphasizing the resilience and popularity of feminist movements despite the challenges they have faced.

    Dr. Leta Hong Fincher is a journalist and research associate at Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute. A sociologist by trade, she focuses on feminist issues in China and has published two books on this subject – Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awakening in China (2018) and Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China (2014, with a recently-published 10-year edition). Dr. Fincher is fluent in Mandarin and was the first American to receive a PhD in sociology from Beijing’s Tsinghua University. 

    25 April 2024, 7:37 pm
  • 43 minutes 31 seconds
    A Chinese Perspective on the Russia-Ukraine War: A Conversation with Dr. Zhao Hai

    In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Dr. Zhao Hai joins us to discuss China’s views on the Russia-Ukraine war and its broader implications for China. Dr. Zhao provides an assessment of how he thinks China perceives the evolving situation on the ground, emphasizing China’s concerns about the risk of further escalation between Russia and the West, potentially involving the use of nuclear weapons. He argues that the Ukraine crisis has heightened U.S.-Russia competition and speaks to how China views the conflict as a sign of the world order shifting towards one of multi-polarity. He also shared his assessment of the United States engaging in enhanced proxy warfare in Ukraine that could be used in the Indo-Pacific in the future.  

    Dr. Zhao is the director of the International Politics Program at the National Institute for Global Strategy and research fellow at the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). Before joining CASS, he was a research fellow at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University. His research interests are Sino-US strategic relations, geopolitics in East Asia, and international security cooperation. Dr. Zhao holds a PhD in international history from the University of Chicago and a Master’s degree in Asia-Pacific Studies from Peking University. The views he shared on the podcast were his personal views. 

    12 April 2024, 6:39 pm
  • 40 minutes 17 seconds
    The Political Thought of Xi Jinping: A Conversation with Dr. Steve Tsang

    In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Dr. Steve Tsang joins us to discuss his new book The Political Thought of Xi Jinping, coauthored with Dr. Olivia Cheung. Dr. Tsang explains that Xi Jinping thought is vastly different from the thought and practices of his predecessors, such as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. Core to Xi Jinping thought is the desire to achieve China’s national rejuvenation and the embracement of the “Tian Xia” concept of Chinese hegemony. Dr. Tsang points out that Xi seeks to position China in a more prominent role on the world stage. Dr. Tsang highlights that through Xi’s efforts to centralize the Communist Party under his control and to create an alternative to the US-led international order, Xi aims to reshape policy both within China and abroad. Finally, Dr. Tsang shares his thoughts on how best to deter Xi Jinping.  

    Dr. Steve Tsang is Professor of China Studies and Director of the China Institute, SOAS, London. He is also a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and an Emeritus Fellow of St Antony’s College at Oxford. He previously served as the Head of the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies and as Director of the China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham. Before that he spent 29 years at Oxford University, where he earned his D.Phil. and worked as a Professorial Fellow, Dean, and Director of the Asian Studies Centre at St Antony’s College. 

    28 March 2024, 8:32 pm
  • 36 minutes 37 seconds
    National Security with Chinese Characteristics: A Conversation with Dr. Sheena Chestnut Greitens

    In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Dr. Sheena Chestnut Greitens joins us to discuss one of President Xi Jinping’s signature priorities: China’s national security. She delves into Xi's “Comprehensive National Security concept,” emphasizing its broad scope with over 20 different components, covering everything from border security to food security. Dr. Greitens discusses Xi Jinping’s preventive rather than reactive approach to security threats, in an attempt to treat what the CCP views as root causes to security issues rather than just the symptoms. Finally, Dr. Greitens explains how China’s views of national security influences how it exerts control at home and uses force abroad. 

    Dr. Sheena Chestnut Greitens is Associate Professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, where she directs UT’s Asia Policy Program. Her research focuses on security, authoritarian politics, foreign policy, and East Asia. Currently, Dr. Greitens is on leave to serve as a Visiting Associate Professor of Research in Indo-Pacific Security at the U.S. Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute. She is also concurrently a Nonresident Scholar with the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 

    15 March 2024, 3:58 pm
  • 40 minutes 4 seconds
    China’s Perspective on the Current Middle East Crises: A Conversation with Mr. Tuvia Gering

    In this episode of the ChinaPower Podcast, Mr. Tuvia Gering joins us to discuss China’s strategy in the context of the Israel-Hamas war and the Red Sea crisis. He dissects the different views within China and the role China has played in both. He shares that China blames the United States for the war and that the PRC response to the region is informed by China’s desire to push back against the Western-led world order. Mr. Gering also discusses the politics behind the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and the economic ramifications that have followed. Overall, China’s responses to both crises have been high on rhetoric and low on action. Finally, Mr. Gering warns of the possibility of broader escalation in the Middle east and the low likelihood of Chinese willingness to work with the United States. 

     Tuvia Gering is a nonresident fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Global China Hub, a researcher at the Diane & Guilford Glazer Foundation Israel-China Policy Center at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), and a Tikvah Fund’s Krauthammer fellow based in Jerusalem and specializing in Chinese security and foreign policy. Previously, he was a research fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS) and the Israeli Chinese Media Center. 

    1 March 2024, 5:03 pm
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