The Belt and Road’s Midlife Crisis: Perspectives from Latin America and the Caribbean

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) turned 10 in 2023. Assessing its progress to date is challenging, given the persistent lack of consensus on its true nature. Few global initiatives evoke such disparate perceptions. To some, the BRI epitomises the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) audacious foray into twenty-first-century grand strategy, a bold vision for … more

China’s Macroeconomy in 2023

China’s economy experienced a bumpy journey in 2023, with fluctuations in each quarter. In the first quarter, GDP growth reached 4.5 percent, exceeding market expectations and marking a strong start to an economic recovery following the three-year COVID-19 prevention and control policy regime. In the second quarter, it grew by 6.3 percent, which, considering the … more

The Mystery of Xi’s Disappearing Officials

The disappearance of former state councilor and foreign minister Qin Gang 秦刚 in June 2023, and the former defense minister General Li Shangfu 李尚福 in August, raises questions about the supreme leader Xi Jinping’s personnel management. A score of senior officers from the Rocket Force and departments in charge of weapons procurement also got the … more

Are the Nongguan Coming? The Evolution of the Rural Comprehensive Administrative Enforcement Team in China’s Rural Governance

In April 2023, videos featuring uniformed rural enforcement teams known as nongguan 农管 forcefully confiscating farmers’ livestock or taking down trees went viral on Chinese social media. ‘The nongguan are coming!’ 农管来了 became a trending topic, often followed by the phrase ‘the peasants are panicking’ 农民慌了. Nongguan is the unofficial name for the rural comprehensive … more