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Chinese President Xi Jinping’s selection of a new politburo at last week’s 20th party congress set the tone for the next five years and sent a message: that loyalty trumps competence, and security—in its many dimensions, for both Xi and China—must be a top priority. Two events at that congress also stood out as indicative of the trends taking shape under Xi’s rule.

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Despite global attention on Taiwan, the state in the Indo-Pacific region facing the most difficult security dilemmas with regard to a more aggressive China under Xi Jinping is Vietnam. Hanoi is struggling to manage the adverse effects of a deterioration in bilateral relations that began when Xi first took power a decade ago.

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Amid a looming global economic crunch driven in part by a slowdown in China, a recalibration of Beijing’s footprint in Africa and deepening tensions with the West, many African governments are asking questions about what direction the relationship between their countries and China will take in the next couple of years.

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With U.S. President Joe Biden’s latest escalation of the U.S.-China trade war, it’s clear the world is a far cry from the “Golden Age” of economic globalization that marked the 1990s and early 2000s. So how did globalization’s “golden age” come to a halt? Three major factors contributed to the global economy’s fragility.

CCP Delegates applaud as China's President Xi Jinping

At the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a speech outlining his priorities heading into his almost certain third term, including his own concept of “national rejuvenation,” which goes hand in hand with a fight against internal and external enemies, both real and conceptual.

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As much as any other single development, China’s rise over the past two decades has remade the landscape of global politics. China rapidly transformed its economy from a low-cost “factory to the world” to a global leader in advanced technologies. Along the way, it has transformed global supply chains, but also international diplomacy.

xi jinping in china

The Chinese Communist Party’s national congress kicks off this weekend, with uncertainty surrounding all but one of the anticipated outcomes: Xi Jinping is expected to be renamed party chairman for a third term. Any other questions have been subordinated to the overriding through-line of Chinese politics these days: What will Xi do?

semiconductors in china

Last week, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued new regulations restricting the sale of semiconductors and cutting-edge chip-making equipment to China. For while the implementation of these far-reaching measures will require international cooperation, Beijing’s technology ambitions are still set to hit rougher waters.

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The novel coronavirus caught many world leaders unprepared, despite consistent warnings that a global pandemic was inevitable. And it has revealed the flaws in a global health architecture headed by the World Health Organization, which had already been faulted for its response to the 2014 Ebola pandemic in West Africa. Will there be an overhaul of the WHO when the pandemic is over?

an expat in hong kong

Western expatriates in China have shaped perceptions of the country to the point of sometimes overshadowing the country itself, but their experiences exist under a protective umbrella of privilege that is often out of touch with the experiences of so many other foreign-born workers and Chinese citizens working overseas.

Sikhs in Afghanistan inspect a suspected ISIS attack

Ever since the August 2021 suicide bombings at Kabul’s international airport, the Islamic State-Khorasan has continued to make headlines with gruesome attacks in Afghanistan, in an effort to portray itself as resurgent. The reality is more complicated, and there is a real possibility that IS-K is actually in decline.

President Jokowi of Indonesia with President Putin of Russia

Last month, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo noted that the country’s first-ever presidency of the G-20 in 2022 was a sign of its growing global stature. The remarks spoke to how Jokowi is walking a fine line between selectively engaging abroad, while also seeking to advance his immediate policy priorities at home.

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Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has begun to challenge America’s role as the key economic and political actor in Asia. Increasingly repressive at home, Xi has not shied away from asserting China’s regional authority. But while China’s rise often makes headlines, it is not the only trend shaping events in Asia.