Policy Agenda and Trajectory of the Xi Jinping Administration: Textual Evidence from 2012 to 2022

Author Name LIM Jaehwan (Aoyama Gakuin University) / ITO Asei (Faculty Fellow, RIETI) / ZHANG Hongyong (Senior Fellow, RIETI)
Creation Date/NO. July 2023 23-P-008
Research Project Studies on Transformations of International Systems and their Impact on Japan's Mid- & Long-term Competitiveness
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How many agendas has Xi Jinping put forth and promoted since taking office in 2012, and what are the types of agendas? What is the relationship between the agendas? How much of political attention has each agenda received, and how has the allocation of attention changed over time? Moreover, how do we know this? Despite the scholarly interest in policy development during the Xi era, few studies have systematically mapped the overall structure – the number, substance, and underlying relationship – of policy agendas pursued by the Xi administration. To address this research gap, we utilize a dataset of presidential statements, speeches, and reports from 2012 to 2022 and employed automated text analysis to identify major topics and terms associated with each topic. Our analysis reveals the identification of about 25 distinct policy agendas across diverse policy domains, with remarkable temporal variations between agendas in terms of the amount of leadership attention. We find a significant shift in both the substance and relative weight of policy agendas between the first and second term of Xi’s tenure, indicating his adaptation and responses to changing domestic and foreign policy environments.