The Center for Strategic Translation provides statesmen and scholars with the tools needed to interpret the Chinese party-state of today while training a new generation of China specialists with the skills needed to guide our relations with the China of tomorrow.

The Center meets this need through initiatives in translation and education. The Center locates, translates, and annotates documents of historic or strategic value that are currently only available in Chinese. Our introductory essays, glossaries, and commentaries are designed to make these materials accessible and understandable to statesmen and scholars with no special expertise in Chinese politics or the Chinese language.

Complementing the Center’s published translations are the Center’s training seminars. Starting in the summer of 2023 the Center will host a series of seminars to instruct young journalists, graduate students, and government analysts in the open-source analysis of Communist Party policy, introduce them to the distinctive lexicon and history of Party speak, and train them how to draw credible conclusions from conflicting or propagandistic documentary sources.
The Center is an initiative of the American Governance Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that studies and promotes the betterment of American public institutions and publishes the quarterly magazine Palladium. The Center is directed by Tanner Greer, a noted essayist, journalist, and researcher with expertise interpreting China in the context of American foreign policy.


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Quántǐ Huìyì

A plenum, or more formally, a Plenary Session of a Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is a gathering of all full and alternate members of the CENTRAL COMMITTEE  held to review and approve policies proposed by the POLITBURO. In the post-Mao era it is customary for each CENTRAL COMMITTEE to hold seven plenums in its five year term. These closed door meetings are usually the most important political events of any given year. The topics discussed in the plenary sessions range from revisions to the constitution to realignments of development strategy. Deliberations are secret. The General Secretary delivers a speech to the CENTRAL COMMITTEE, but this speech is usually not published until long after the plenum has concluded.  

In the post-Mao era the topics addressed in the seven plenums tend to follow a pattern: the first plenum is held to select the POLITBURO and CENTRAL COMMITTEE membership, the second confirms the leadership of important government posts, the third is devoted to economic development and reform, the fourth focuses on initiatives in law or party building, the fifth lays the groundwork for the next FIVE YEAR PLAN, the sixth addresses problems of ideology, culture, or intra-party rules, and the seventh prepares the CENTRAL COMMITTEE for the upcoming PARTY CONGRESS.

Documents drafted during plenums are among the most authoritative in the Chinese policy process; each compacts the various guidelines, policies, and tasks issued since the previous plenum into a baseline directive for the entire party. At select points in modern Chinese history–such as the 3rd and 5th plenums of the 11th Party Congress–meetings of the Central Committee have served as forums for substantive intra-party debates. More often the Central Committee simply makes small adjustments to plans already agreed on by the Politburo ahead of time. 



Blanchette, Jude. 2019. “Red Flags: Why Was China’s Fourth Plenum Delayed?” Center for Strategic and International Studies; Heath, Timothy. 2014. China’s New Governing Party Paradigm: Political Renewal and the Pursuit of National Rejuvenation. New York: Routledge; Heilman, Sebastian. 2017. China’s Political System. Lanham, Maryland: Rowan and Littlefield.

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