About 2 months ago, on Feb 16, 2023, Kevin Rudd, in his capacity as president of Asia society in New York, gave a speech about “China’s Competing Ideological and Economic Policy Objectives in 2023.”
The video of that speech is here, and if you want to read the full document, it is here. The speech itself is about 35 mins long, followed by a brief Q and A. The entire written document is quite long, about 7000 words or 18 pages.
While I encourage you to watch the actual video or read the full text, if you want to get a quick summary, here it is:
- The lecture/talk is about “where China is headed during Xi Jinping’s third term: where he is headed in domestic politics, on the economy and in the future direction of China’s foreign and security policy.” Here Kevin refers to the early months of 2023.
- Competing tensions between China’s ideological strategic direction under President Xi Jinping and the practical and pragmatic objective of sustaining economic growth are discussed. “Ideology has always mattered to the Chinese Communist Party. But with Xi Jinping, we have seen the reification of his own brand of Marxist-Leninist nationalism.”, Kevin wrote.
- The need for Australia to have an entire cadre of people with deep familiarity with Asian languages and cultures, particularly China and Chinese culture.
- “The beginning of wisdom is to understand how others think and why they think that way” – Kevin said
- Analyzing China from the inside out is important for understanding its foreign and security policy.
- Kevin talked about three sets of important recent developments:
- The 20th Party Congress, held in Oct 2022
- What happened in the several months after the Party congress, including the summit between US President Biden and China President Xi Jinping, the abolition of China’s three-year-long zero Covid policy and the changing of economic narrative following the Central Economic Work Conference (CEWC) in late Dec.
- President Xi Jinping’s speech at the Central party school on Feb 8.
While I don’t have a good frame of reference to agree or disagree strongly with what Kevin shared, I find his talk insightful. I hope you enjoy watching the video too.