China's political event of the decade - its 20th Party Congress - will confirm Xi Jinping's third term as leader of the CCP and could even bestow on him the title of ‘chairman’. With an economy crippled by zero-COVID and global public opinion about China turning precipitously negative, it seems an age since China’s leaders promised a ‘peaceful rise’. Was this peaceful rise stymied by hardliners, or was it all an elaborate influence operation orchestrated by China's spies? For two very different analyses of developments inside the black box of Chinese politics, we’re joined by Susan Shirk, Research Professor and Chair at the 21st Century China Centre at University of California, San Diego, whose much awaited new book is Overreach: How China Derailed its Peaceful Rise is just out, and Alex Joske, Senior Analyst at Australian Strategic Policy Institute, who’s just written a book called Spies and Lies: How China’s Greatest Covert Operations Fooled the World.
Image: c/- Wikimedia Commons. President George W. Bush is greeted by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping Sunday 10 August 2008. White House photo by Eric Draper.