As a scholar of politics and governance in post-Mao China, it’s not often I get to read articles in the western press breathlessly reporting on rubber stamp resolutions authored by CCP functionaries expounding on “major achievements and historical experience of the Party over the past century.” It’s true, these are not ordinary times we live in.
Party theatrics aside, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, an organization that has made an indelible impact on the world, regardless of your geo-political inclinations. In this issue of the Ash Center’s magazine, the Communiqué, I invite you to explore a series of essays written by members of our scholarly community that take stock of the party’s past century and delve into what the future may hold for the world’s most durable communist institution. To preview just a few: Elizabeth Plantan, an alumni of our China public policy post-doctoral program writes about opportunities and constraints for civil society in China. Dennis Kwok, a former pro-democracy legislator from Hong Kong and now a fellow with us, discusses the role of the party in dismantling one country, two systems. And my colleague, China Programs Director Edward Cunningham, delves into China’s climate face-offs and trade-offs.
I hope you take a moment to explore these essays and the rest of this virtual issue. Though these may be unordinary times, our community of scholars, students, and alumni continue to advance extraordinary ideas. In pages that follow, I invite you to learn more about the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and their work promoting innovative governance and sovereignty throughout Indian Country. You’ll also read about Institutional Antiracism and Accountability Project, headed by my friend and colleague Khalil Gibran Muhammad, which joined the Ash Center earlier this year. And of course, you’ll find news about our ongoing research and practitioner engagement, as well as a series of portraits of the scholars and students who make the Ash Center such a unique institution.
Director, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
Daewoo Professor of International Affairs
Harvard Kennedy School