Fewsmith Testifies Before U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

On January 27, 2022, Joseph Fewsmith, Professor of International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, provided testimony before the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission during a hearing on the Chinese Communists Party’s (CCP) Decision-Making and the 20th Party Congress.

Fewsmith was one of ten regional experts from academia, think tanks, and military to provide testimony for the Committee. He was joined on the hearing’s first panel by Jessica Teets, Associate Professor of Political Science, Middlebury College, and Neil Thomas, Analyst, China and Northeast Asia, Eurasia Group.

In his testimony, Fewsmith addressed Committee questions concerning the Chinese political system, Xi Jinping’s intentions for the forthcoming Party Congress, as well as the degree to which Chinese politics has been institutionalized and factionalized. He went on to predict that Xi’s number one goal for the new party congress is to secure a third term as general secretary but stopped short of making specific policy predictions.

When asked for legislative recommendations, Fewsmith said he supported increased research and development funding into innovative technology and cybersecurity. He also opposed “strategic clarity” in building deterrence against China because “what we see as deterrence can seem like a provocation to China,” especially in the case of Taiwan.

A recording of the full hearing can be viewed on the Commission’s website. A written copy of Fewsmith’s testimony can be read online. The hearing was the subject of a South China Morning Post article, titled “Xi Jinping’s iron grip on power brings new form of corruption, China experts tell US congressional advisory panel,” which can be read online.

Joseph Fewsmith is Professor of International Relations at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University  He is the author or editor of eight books, including, most recently, Rethinking Chinese Politics (June 2021). He is an associate of the John King Fairbank Center for East Asian Studies at Harvard University and the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University. Read more about Professor Fewsmith on his faculty profile.