James Miles took up his position as The Economist’s China Editor in August 2014, having previously worked as Beijing Bureau Chief for 13 years. Before he joined The Economist in 2001 he reported on China for the BBC; as Beijing Bureau Chief from 1988 to 1994, Hong Kong Correspondent from 1995 to 1997 and Senior Chinese Affairs Analyst in London from 1997 to 2000. From 2000 to 2001 he was the Editor of Strategic Comments and Research Fellow for Asia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He has written several special reports for The Economist on China and Taiwan and is the author of “The Legacy of Tiananmen: China in Disarray” (University of Michigan Press, 1996).
At an annual conclave of the Communist Party’s Central Committee last October, Chinese officials turned their attention from economic reform — the subject of the previous year’s meeting — to politics. Was their championing of the rule of law and the constitution a sign of real change to come?