Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy Talks Chinese Politics at Paulson Institute

“China is a preoccupation of mine, but it is also a preoccupation of the United States,” said Ambassador J. Stapleton Roy, who was born in China and grew up there during the upheavals of World War II and the communist revolution, where he watched the battle for Shanghai from the roof of the Shanghai American School. During his talk at the Paulson Institute’s Contemporary China Speakers Series, Roy reflected on his decades of experience studying and interacting with China and its leadership. Discussing current Chinese politics, Roy explained how Xi Jinping has primarily governed through small working groups of his cronies, leading to a weakening of government institutions and a strengthening of the Party. Such a strategy will likely not be sustainable over the long-term, argued Roy. Nonetheless, he emphasized, Xi would not let the Chinese Communist Party fail under his watch. Discussing the state of US-China relations, Roy argued that the US has not had a coherent strategy toward China for several years—“we’re simply drifting along.” Going forward, he recommended a strategy of maintaining American strength, while incentivizing China to be a responsible power on the international stage.