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

Dear Human Readers,
The increase in Chinese military activities near Taiwan once again put the island at the forefront of U.S.-China relations. Here are the updates on the issue from our machine learning projects.


We warned about China’s military aggressions. Back in Q2 of 2020, the PCI-China picked up a spike that indicates China’s unusual emphasis on its military power and suggested that military aggregations may be on the horizon, including over the Taiwan Strait. That prediction still stands today as we release the 2021 Q1 update reaffirming the previously detected spike.

Figure: PCI-China, 1951 Q1 to 2021 Q1

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.


More broadly, it’s abundantly clear that U.S.-China relations under President Biden are just about the same as under former President Trump. We’ve talked about why which party occupies the White House doesn’t matter much to the U.S. policy toward China. The latest PCI update confirms that China hasn't changed course since President Biden took office either.


The Future of Taiwan

Discourse, an online journal published by Mercatus, is running a special series on the future of Taiwan.

  • George Mason University’s Jack Goldstone talks about steps the United States can take, especially at home, to prevent a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.
  • Freelance writer Michael Puttré discusses the obstacles facing a Chinese military conquest of the island.
  • The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation’s Stephen Ezell explains why Taiwan’s semiconductor sector plays a vital role in bolstering America’s economic and national security.
  • Voice of America’s Joyce Huang tells us what it’s like to grow up in Taiwan as the two Chinas drifted farther and farther apart.

Watch that space as more about U.S.-China relations will come.


PCI Resources

Last month, Zhong joined C-SPAN’s Washington Journal to discuss the future of U.S.-China relations under the Biden administration and how the PCI projects can help us better understand the challenge.

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


If you were forwarded this email and like what you read, please sign up here to stay in the loop. If you’re already a loyal reader, please help us grow by forwarding this to a friend or colleague. 
Subscribe →
Donate | Manage Preferences
Copyright © 2021, All rights reserved.

Mercatus Center at George Mason University, 3434 Washington Blvd, Arlington VA, 22201