The significant changes that have taken place in China over the past 100 days raise important questions about its political future and foreign relations. Since the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in October 2022 we have witnessed the consolidation of Xi Jinping’s central authority, the breakdown of collective political leadership, protests on the streets, and a total reversal of zero-Covid restrictions that few predicted, either inside or outside of China. Informed by on the ground experience in Beijing, this talk will reflect on these recent developments. It will address some of the major tensions in Covid policy under Xi Jinping, motivations behind the protests, and the timing of China’s dramatic opening up. It will also consider the implications for China’s post-pandemic recovery over the coming year.
Katherine Morton is the Schwarzman College Professor of Global Affairs. She is also an External Associate of the China Centre and an Associate Fellow at Chatham House. Her research focuses on China and International Relations with a particular emphasis upon the domestic and international motivations behind China’s changing role in the world and the implications for foreign policy and the study of International Relations. Prior to her appointment at the Schwarzman College she held the positions of Chair in China’s International Relations at the University of Sheffield and Associate Dean for Research at the College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University. Professor Morton is a regular participant in policy dialogues on China and international affairs. She has been awarded two Senior Memberships to St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, and visiting fellowships to Peking University, Rajaratnam School of International Studies, China Foreign Affairs University, and Columbia University. She has published widely on global governance, the environment and climate change, food security, and maritime disputes in the South China Sea.