The Chinese Communist Party at 100: Is the Past Prologue to the Future?

June 30, 2021
08:00 pm - 09:30 pm


about the event

Since its founding in July 1921 and subsequent rise to national power in 1949, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has indelibly shaped the lives of billions of people living within the asserted borders of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and around the world. Topics of discussion will include: The evolution of the Party itself over time, including the significant structural changes that have accompanied the ascent of General Secretary Xi Jinping; the CCP’s evolving policies towards and treatment of ethnic groups such as Tibetans and Uyghurs, from Leninist-inspired models of quasi-autonomy to violent and coercive campaigns of control and assimilation; and what the Party’s dominance means for China’s growing global influence, particularly for democratic norms and institutions at the international level.

In this panel discussion, Minxin Pei, Andrew Nathan, Perry Link and Elizabeth Economy will discuss the implications and impact of the evolution of the CCP from a revolutionary vanguard party to a totalitarian political entity with over 91 million members exercising near-absolute control over economic, social, and political life across the PRC and beyond, including in online spaces.

About the Speakers

Minxin Pei is the Tom and Margot Pritzker ’72 Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College. He is also a non-resident senior fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Prior to joining CMC in July 2009, Dr. Pei was a senior associate and the director of the China Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC.

Perry Link has taught modern Chinese language and literature twenty-three years at Princeton, eight at UCLA, and nine at UC-Riverside, where he is currently Chancellorial Chair for Teaching Across Disciplines. His academic books and articles are on Chinese language, literature, popular culture, and intellectual history. He has written in may non-academic publications about courageous Chinese thinkers, writers and activists including Liu Binyan, Fang Lizhi, and Liu Xiaobo. His most well-known article, on how the Chinese Communist regime uses intimidation to induce self-censorship in would-be critics, is “The Anaconda in the Chandelier” (The New York Review of Books, 2002).

Elizabeth Economy is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University and a Senior Fellow for China studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Her forthcoming book, The World According to China (Polity Press, 2021), explores China’s foreign policy ambitions and their impact on the international system. Her most recent book, The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State, (Oxford University Press, 2018) was shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize, a prestigious literary award for foreign affairs books.

Andrew Nathan is Class of 1919 Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. His teaching and research interests include Chinese politics and foreign policy, the comparative study of political participation and political culture, and human rights. Prof. Nathan’s books include Chinese Democracy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985); The Tiananmen Papers, co-edited with Perry Link (New York: PublicAffairs, 2001); and China’s Search for Security, co-authored with Andrew Scobell (Columbia University Press, 2012). Prof. Nathan served as chair of the department of political science, 2003-2006, chair of the executive committee of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, 2002-2003, and director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, 1991-1995.

Larry Diamond is the founding coeditor of the Journal of Democracy and the co-chair of the Research Council of the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy. At Stanford University, Diamond is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, where he directed the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law from 2009–2015. He is also professor by courtesy of political science and sociology at Stanford, where he teaches courses on comparative democratic development and post-conflict democracy building.

Carl Gershman is president of the National Endowment for Democracy. Gershman has led NED since its operations began in 1984 and has overseen the development and growth of NED’s global grantmaking program as well as NED’s other related endeavors, including the International Forum for Democratic Studies, the Journal of Democracy, the Center for International Media Assistance, and the World Movement for Democracy.

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Header image adapted from photo by Luo Shaoyang under a CC BY 2.0 license.