The Politics of Promotion and Survival in China's Foreign Affairs System
Diplomats are often the face of Chinese foreign policy. Despite the important role that diplomats play in informing and implementing China’s foreign affairs work, however, comparatively little attention has been afforded to their professional mobility. Dr Jost and colleagues have introduced original data documenting over 11,000 career assignments of 1,357 senior Chinese diplomats since 1949 and leveraged these data to explore which types of demographic traits and professional experiences contribute to their promotion and survival. The findings show that diplomats who secure assignments in the Beijing headquarters, both early and late in their careers, are systematically more likely to promote to higher rank. Dr Jost and colleagues also found that managing relations during foreign conflicts, such as border clashes, may improve promotion prospects more than successfully managing cooperative outcomes, such as treaty negotiations.

Tyler Jost is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Brown University. He is currently on sabbatical leave as the David and Cindy Edelson Fellow in US Foreign Policy and International Security at Dartmouth College. His research focuses on national security decision-making, bureaucratic politics and Chinese foreign policy. His research has been published in International Security, Journal of Conflict Resolution and International Studies Quarterly. Dr Jost’s first book, Bureaucracies at War, examines how different types of bureaucratic institutions across the world lead to better and worse foreign policy decisions. He is currently working on a second book, examining the domestic origins of international engagement. Dr Jost completed his doctoral degree in the Department of Government at Harvard University and held postdoctoral fellowships at the Belfer Center International Security Program at the Kennedy School of Government, as well as in the China and the World Program at Columbia.
Date: 28 November 2023, 12:00 (Tuesday, 8th week, Michaelmas 2023)
Venue: Dickson Poon Building, Canterbury Road OX2 6LU
Venue Details: Kin-ku Cheng Lecture Theatre (lower ground floor)
Speaker: Dr Tyler Jost (Brown University)
Organising department: Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies
Organiser: Professor Todd Hall (University of Oxford)
Organiser contact email address:
Host: Professor Todd Hall (University of Oxford)
Part of: China Centre talks
Booking required?: Not required
Cost: Free
Audience: Public
Editor: Clare Orchard