Monthly updates from the Policy Change Index.
Mercatus Center at George Mason University This Week

Dear Human Readers,
A belated Happy New Year! But doesn’t 2021 feel a lot like 2020? That’s certainly the case in the world the PCI project is watching.


China’s military aggressions, again. The PCI-China just released the 2020 Q4 update. The spike detected in Q2, indicating China’s surprise emphasis on the military, became once again more apparently in Q4.

Figure: PCI-China, 1951 Q1 to 2020 Q4

Note: The PCI-China predicts if and when the Chinese government will change its policy priorities. A spike in the indicator signals a policy change, while a vertical bar marks the occurrence of a policy change labeled by the event.


If you had been reading our newsletters, especially our analysis published in the Tribune News Service, you would have found it completely predictable that the military activities carried out by China, Taiwan, and the U.S. in the Taiwan Strait have stepped up in recent weeks. You would also have understood that much of the tension lies in Taiwan’s strategic importance in the semiconductor industry.

Will the new Biden administration ease the same old tension? Not likely, as Zhong explained in a recent National Interest piece. Biden may make different choices, but the general trajectory towards greater competition between the U.S. and China was already set before even Trump was president.



China’s COVID-19 deception, again.The PCI-Outbreak algorithm we developed last year to estimate the severity of COVID-19 in China, was featured in a recent National Review article by Jimmy Quinn. To our readers, it should be no surprise that recent coronavirus outbreaks in Beijing and Xinjiang, home to China’s persecuted Uighur minority, once again appear more serious than what the Chinese government is letting on.


PCI Resources

The open-sourced PCI projects are meant to crack a window to otherwise opaque political systems, so everyone can look inside—for free. You can find out more about the projects on the PCI website. Don’t hesitate to reach out!


Edited by Weifeng Zhong and Julian TszKin Chan


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