He likened the Chinese government to one that is collectively run by technocrats. Unlike during the time of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, "there is no paramount leader now."
China's top leaders have to consider the reaction from interest groups such as China's military or any emotional criticism on the Chinese Internet over the Obama-Dalai Lama meeting, he added.
But Jin pointed to China's allowing a U.S. aircraft carrier to make a port call in Hong Kong this week when it rejected one in 2007 after President Bush met with the Dalai Lama.
"What is important for China is to have stable and healthy relations with the U.S.," he explained.
This overriding goal of having "stable and healthy relations with the U.S." will help to explain China's behavior, he said, as China tries to manage its differences with the U.S. in the coming months.