Minxin Pei

Former Adjunct Senior Associate
Asia Program
Pei is Tom and Margot Pritzker ‘72 Professor of Government and the director of the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at Claremont McKenna College.


B.A., Shanghai International Studies University; M.F.A., University of Pittsburgh; M.A., Ph.D., Harvard University


English; Mandarin Chinese


Minxin Pei is no longer with the Carnegie Endowment.

Minxin Pei was an adjunct senior associate in the Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment. He is the Tom and Margot Pritzker ‘72 Professor of Government and the director of the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies at Claremont McKenna College.

His research focuses on democratization in developing countries, economic reform and governance in China, and U.S.–China relations. He is the author of From Reform to Revolution: The Demise of Communism in China and the Soviet Union (Harvard University Press, 1994) and China’s Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy (Harvard University Press, 2006). Pei’s research has been published in Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs, the National Interest, Modern China, China Quarterly, Journal of Democracy, and many edited books. Pei is a frequent commentator on CNN and National Public Radio; his op-eds have appeared in the Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek International, and the International Herald Tribune. He is a columnist for L’espresso, a major Italian news magazine and a regular contributor to the Diplomat, a leading online international affairs journal. Pei received his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University.

Selected Publications: “Think Again: Asia’s Rise,” Foreign Policy (July–August 2009); “The Color of China,” the National Interest (March 2009); “How China is Ruled, the American Interest (Spring 2008); “Corruption Threatens China’s Future,” Carnegie Policy Brief No. 55 (2007); China’s Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy (Harvard University Press, 2006).

  • Great Party, but Where's the Communism?
    Op-Ed International Herald Tribune June 30, 2011
    Great Party, but Where's the Communism?

    The Chinese Communist Party's rule is likely to become increasingly unsustainable as economic growth slows and a growing middle class protests against the party's single-minded focus on maintaining power.

  • Peace, Democracy, and Nightmares in China
    Op-Ed National Interest June 22, 2011
    Peace, Democracy, and Nightmares in China

    A gradual democratic transition in China would promote a more peaceful Chinese national security policy by enabling greater checks and balances, stronger civil society, and improved civil-military relations.

  • How China Can Avoid the Next Conflict
    Op-Ed Diplomat June 12, 2011 中文
    How China Can Avoid the Next Conflict

    Recent tensions between China and Vietnam over islands and energy exploration in the South China Sea have demonstrated the need for Beijing to implement more intense diplomatic initiatives to forge a multilateral solution to the South China Sea disputes.

  • China Has Another Way To Defuse Ethnic Strife
    Op-Ed Financial Times June 5, 2011
    China Has Another Way To Defuse Ethnic Strife

    Recent unrest in China's Inner Mongolia province and simmering resentment of Han majority control in other western provinces suggests that China should give more local political autonomy to ethnic minority groups.

  • Why China's Leaders Fear Inflation
    Op-Ed Diplomat May 23, 2011
    Why China's Leaders Fear Inflation

    Inflation poses a particularly significant challenge to China's leadership, since it can both incite broad-based dissatisfaction among diverse social groups and create fissures among the ruling elite.

  • Small Change
    Op-Ed South China Morning Post May 5, 2011 中文
    Small Change

    China must not only reform its income tax system, but also enact policies to increase labor wages, redistribute wealth, and fight corruption if it is to significantly reduce income inequality.

  • Why China's Crackdown Is Selective
    Op-Ed Diplomat April 28, 2011
    Why China's Crackdown Is Selective

    When popular protests occur in China, Beijing’s official response is shaped by a number of factors, including the level of organization of the protesters, the media coverage the protests receive, the demands the protesters make, and the location of the protests.

  • Three Reasons for Beijing's Current Campaign Again
    Op-Ed CNN April 11, 2011
    Three Reasons for Beijing's Current Campaign Against Dissent

    China's ongoing crackdown on domestic dissidents stems from a number of factors, including Beijing's fears about potential broader unrest and political posturing ahead of the upcoming leadership transition.

  • Reconciliable Differences
    Op-Ed South China Morning Post February 25, 2011 中文
    Reconciliable Differences

    Although President Hu Jintao's state visit to Washington helped stabilize U.S.-China relations, Beijing needs to prevent future bilateral tensions by pressuring North Korea to change its behavior, scaling back its own economic protectionism, and reassuring its neighbors.

  • China’s Bumpy Ride Ahead
    Op-Ed Diplomat February 16, 2011 中文
    China’s Bumpy Ride Ahead

    Many of the significant domestic and foreign policy challenges facing Beijing in the coming year were compounded by the policy decisions made in 2010.

  • Minxin Pei
    Book Review August 5, 2008
    The Party vs. the People

    China’s capitalist revolution presents two divergent political paths for the country: autocracy or democracy. While the current strength of the CCP might suggest China is traveling down the first path, there are signs that citizen resistance on issues like growing economic disparities and environmental degradation may be on the rise and become more potent in the future.

  • China's Trapped Transition
    Harvard University Press March 1, 2006
    China's Trapped Transition: The Limits of Developmental Autocracy

    Minxin Pei examines the sustainability of the Chinese Communist Party's strategy of pro-market economic policies under one-party rule. China is trapped in partial economic and political reforms, and because the Communist Party must retain significant economic control to ensure its political survival, gradualism will ultimately fail.

  • The Diane Rehm Show November 17, 2009
    President Obama in China

    Despite a lack of concrete deliverables, President Obama’s trip to Asia still accomplished the important objective of showing China that the United States is serious about engaging the region and remaining a Pacific power.

  • NewsHour with Jim Lehrer November 16, 2009
    U.S., China Explore Deeper Ties as Partners, Contenders

    China is likely to be both a partner and a contender in its relations with the United States, with the depth of its cooperation limited by the extent to which the two countries have overlapping national interests.

  • Newshour October 1, 2009
    China Celebrates 60 Years of Communism

    While China’s military parade may provide a temporary boost of national pride, in the long term, it will be little more than a passing distraction from the intractable problems confronting the regime.

  • WBUR Radio Here and Now August 13, 2009
    A More Balanced View of Asia's Rise

    Fears about Asia’s rise warrant a more balanced and critical look. China and India's international standing should not be overstated because both face serious economic and social constraints that will limit their growth.

  • Minxin Pei
    PBS Newshour July 7, 2009
    Tensions Remain High in China Following Deadly Riots

    Unrest among the Uighur minority in China was inevitable because of the lack of dialogue between ethnic groups, growing income inequality between Han Chinese and Uighurs, and government portrayals of Uighurs as separatist terrorists.

  • Minxin Pei
    NewsHour with Jim Lehrer April 1, 2009
    G20 Leaders to Tout Competing Ideas on Recovery

    China wants to look like a leader at the G20 summit by highlighting the extent of its stimulus package ($586 billion) as well as the relative health of its financial system.

  • Minxin Pei
    CNN's GPS February 22, 2009
    Clinton's Asia Trip

    With Chinese economic growth rates decelerating beyond even the most pessimistic predictions and a leadership succession in three or four years, the CCP is more concerned about quelling internal unrest than engaging with the United States on pressing global issues.

  • Minxin Pei
    Fareed Zakaria's GPS August 10, 2008
    Understanding China

    The Olympic Games cap a decade of Chinese re-engagement with the world and demonstrate China's newfound confidence on the world stage. Despite these investments, the government has not done a good job of fulfilling its basic responsibilities regarding environmental quality and improved healthcare for citizens.

  • PBS NewsHour August 8, 2008
    Opening Ceremony Goes Off Without a Hitch

    After seven years of meticulous and costly preparation, the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics transpired without issue. In the eyes of the Chinese people and their government, the event – attended by 86 heads of state – was all about respect and acceptance into the world community.

  • Minxin Pei
    The Diane Rehm show August 4, 2008
    China's Hopes for the Beijing Games

    With only days to go before the Olympic Games, Minxin Pei joined a panel of experts on the Diane Rehm Show to discuss what the Chinese government hopes to gain from hosting one of the biggest spectacles in sports.

  • September 8, 2010 Brussels 中文
    Post-Crisis China and the Changing Global Economic Order

    The growing imbalance between high-growth economies—led by China—and low growth ones will have increasingly profound implications for trade and investment patterns and the global distribution of power.

  • April 14, 2010 Beirut Русский عربي
    The Middle East in Global Perspective

    The Middle East has long been a regional battlefield of competing interests among the great powers. In the current international environment, however, the United States, Russia, and, to a lesser extent, China share multiple mutual interests in the region.

  • January 14, 2010 Paris
    U.S.-China Relations: 21st Century Compact?

    President Obama conducted a four-nation tour of Asia from November 12-19, which incorporated visits to Japan, China, Singapore and South Korea. The tour reflected the increasing significance of the region, and particularly China, for U.S. foreign policy.

  • Ted Koppel
    June 4, 2009 Washington, D.C.
    Twenty Years After Tiananmen

    On the twentieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Incident, Carnegie brought together a group of experts including: Brent Scowcroft, Ted Koppel, Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy, and Minxin Pei, to discuss how the ensuing years have transformed China's political trajectory and what changes may be near.

  • Rebecca MacKinnon
    February 19, 2009 Washington, D.C.
    Cyber-ocracy: How the Internet is Changing China

    Chinese citizens are using the internet as a source of social discourse at exponential rates. It is unclear whether this growing phenomenon will result in “cyber-ocracy” or “cyber-tarianism”.

  • November 17, 2008 Washington, D.C.
    Rethinking the Chinese Economic Model

    A close examination of China's economic reform policies in the 1980s and 1990s reveals differences that shed light on motivations for its $586 billion stimulus plan.

  • event sign
    November 10, 2008 Beijing
    A New Beginning: American Foreign Policy Under a New Administration

    The incoming Obama administration faces a variety of challenges and opportunities in China and Asia more broadly. Many in Asia have assessed Barack Obama's presidential victory as a mandate for a more thoughtful, engaging American foreign policy.

  • August 6, 2008 Washington, D.C.
    Countdown to Beijing: Will China Stage a Successful Olympics?

    The Beijing Olympics mark China’s emergence as a global leader, but present risks that could mar its reputation. Risks include logistical organization, pollution, security, and political protests.

  • Beijing Olympics
    June 5, 2008 Brussels
    The Beijing Olympics: A Driver for Reform or a Mask of Modernity?

    The Beijing Olympic Games will reveal the two sides of China: the enormous economic progress the country has made over the last 30 years but also the ‘alarming’ levels of uneven development and the devastating environmental consequences of its progress.

  • March 19, 2008 Washington, D.C.
    A Mid-Term Report of the Hu-Wen Government: Analyzing the Outcome of the National People's Congress

    In a talk moderated by Carnegie Senior Associate Albert Keidel, Minxin Pei, director of the Carnegie China Program and Wing Thye Woo, senior fellow at the John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution, discussed the implications of the recent National Party Congress.

Source: http://carnegieendowment.org/experts/index.cfm?fa=expert_view&expert_id=27

Areas of Expertise

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20036-2103 Phone: 202 483 7600 Fax: 202 483 1840
Please note...

You are leaving the website for the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy and entering a website for another of Carnegie's global centers.