Mr. Cheng Li of the Brookings Institute put out a pretty good paper on 習近平(Xi, Jin-Ping)’s powerbase from 陝西(ShaanXi):
In contemporary China, national leaders have often disproportionately represented certain geographic regions. 17 During the Nationalist era, Guangdong Province produced a significant number of top political and military elites in the country, including those who
were Cantonese, those who studied at the Whampoa Military Academy, and those who advanced their professional and political careers in the region.
Like other sources of elite divisions, birthplace ties can be instrumental in either political
consolidation or factional conflict… Understandably, any new boss in Zhongnanhai likely will take advantage of all possible political associations and networks available, including shared birthplace, to consolidate power.
Going beyond regional politics, is Mr. Willy Lam’s look at members of 習近平’s Clique:
Mr. Timothy Heath discusses Restructuring the PLA:
While Mr. David Liebenberg and Jeffery Becker talk about shifting PLAN leadership, specifically Vice Admiral(VAdm) Tian:
Then, there’s Mr. David Cohen’s piece on China’s military strategy. Some might be more specific and say 習近平’s military strategy…
Overall, the response to Xi’s call for strategic thinking appears to have focused largely inward, emphasizing shortcomings, areas in which China is behind other nations—especially the United States—and specifically failures of management and coordination. While we know little about private debates going on within the Chinese leadership compound at Zhongnanhai, there is in public a tightly-controlled effort underway to propose new ways of thinking about China’s place in the world. For the time being, these questions are being examined as ways into debates about internal restructuring, and this limited dialogue appears to be largely subservient to Xi’s goals of reforming and restructuring the Chinese military as part of a general project of reform.
Actually, there are a bunch of tightly-controlled efforts by the central government in a lot of areas, like influencing the direction of social media, as described by Mr. Michael Caster’s article:
It’s interesting, how all of this is based off of 「七不（講）」(The Seven Forbidden [topics to talk about]), which came out of the 《關於當前意識形態領域情況的通報》(“Concerning the Situation in the Ideological Sphere”), published by the 中共中央辦公廳 (General Office of the Communist Party of China). With a name like that, it’s no wonder the document is simply known as 中辦發〔2013〕9號 (“Document No. 9”). What it covers, obviously, are seven things that the government doesn’t want you to discuss:
- 普世價值(“Universal Values” more often translated as “Western Democratic Values”)
- 新聞自由 (“Press Freedom“)
- 公民社會 (“Civil Society”)
- 公民權利 (“Civil Rights”, more broadly any debate on the idea of “citizenship“)
- 中國共產黨的歷史錯誤 (“Past Errors of the CCP”, which means not being able to criticize [for right or wrong] any of their previous campaigns. Or, as they put it: “Nihilist” criticisms of past errors of the party)
- 權貴資產階級(“Bourgeois Elite”, or rather “Crony Capitalism“, but more objectively “Pro-market neo-liberalism”)
- 司法獨立 (“Judicial Independence”)
Let’s not forget after the “Seven Forbiddens”, there came the 關於加強和改進高校青年教師思想政治工作的若干意見(Opinions on Strengthening and Improving Ideological and Political Work of Young Teachers)’s “Sixteen Advisories”:
Yeah, we should all listen to official news sources that cite reputable organizations like the Onion, which says that Kim, Jong-un is voted the Sexiest man alive! Wait, that news piece has since been deleted. But it’s so full of truth, why would they take down such a wonderful piece of journalism which doesn’t need to be freed from party guidelines?
But seriously, the Jamestown Foundation article does a good job analyzing why such policies are bad, and how attacking things like “human flesh searches” while it can be good, can definately be detrimental to society as a whole.