Sinica Podcast: China’s authoritarian revival, explained by Carl Minzner


This week’s Sinica Podcast is now live: listen to it now!

This week, we have an inadvertently timely podcast on China’s authoritarian revival. Mere days before the episode’s recording, Chinese President Xi Jinping set the stage to extend his power to rule China indefinitely.

As Carl Minzner, professor of law at Fordham University, explains, the abolition of term limits for Xi was only the latest — and easiest for non-China specialists to understand — of many signs that China was heading down the path to strengthening its one-Party and one-man rule to an extent not seen since Mao. He details this path, and why he thinks it is limiting China’s development, in his new book, End of an Era: How China’s Authoritarian Revival Is Undermining Its Rise.

Unlike many commentators, Carl sees the signs of China’s illiberal turn as dating way back before 2008, when the unrest in Tibet in March and Olympics in August of that year demanded greater social control. It is then widely agreed that the signs of an authoritarian revival have rapidly accumulated since Xi Jinping assumed power in 2013. Carl also has some interesting observations about how Xi’s “Chinese Dream” represents a surprising turn toward tradition (including a radical redefining of what is traditional Chinese culture) as the Party seeks legitimacy in the New Era of Xi Jinping.

All the while, Carl explores the underlying reasons for China’s hardening and approaches the question with admirable empathy. And though this topic is one that Kaiser and Jeremy have discussed before many times on the show, Carl brings fresh angles to the conversation, including an exploration of how changes in China’s educational system may be restricting social mobility in China.

Listen now to: China’s authoritarian revival, explained by Carl Minzner