Xi Jinping, general-secretary of the CCP and president of China, has announced his third term in office. There has been controversy over term limits in the past, and both Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao had to step down after ten years. In the recent past, Xi has made his personality the center of the “new era.” (Also Read: One of the World’s Most Spectacular New Libraries Has Opened in Dubai)
Xi Jinping’s iron-fist rule
Xi Jinping’s iron-blended rule is a far cry from the liberal democracy that he promised his supporters in 2013. In his recent speeches at the National Congress, Xi referred to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, casting himself as the sole leader capable of accomplishing this goal in the twenty-first century. Even though there has been a lot of trouble lately, it’s unlikely that his long-term plans to modernize China and bring about “common prosperity” will change.
A high-level meeting of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has declared Xi Jinping’s rule of decisive significance. The announcement makes it clear that Xi is preparing for his third term in office. His position as the core of the Communist Party is viewed as of decisive importance, and his rise to the top of the party has earned him plenty of grievances. As president, Xi has vowed to turn China into a global power that awes the West. His statement during the party congress said that China is “taking the center stage in the world,” and that is exactly what he intends to do. That’s why Xi’s iron-fist rule seems likely to continue, too.
In recent years, Xi Jinping has been consolidating his personal power, reinstating the titles of “Core Leader,” immortalizing ideological “thought,” and revising the national constitution to remove term limits for the president. This has made Xi Jinping the most powerful leader since Deng. But in trying to make China a better place, he has fallen into the same traps as those who came before him.
In an effort to restore investor confidence, the Chinese government acknowledged that soaring stock prices were hurting the economy. As a result, regulators stayed away from new regulations for tech stocks, hoping the market would recover. As a result, tech stocks soared in the days following the meetings.
Xi’s commitment to engaging the world
The Xi Jinping administration has emphasized the need to engage the world in its interests. This means establishing a global engagement strategy and pursuing a “win-win” approach for both parties. China seeks to invest more and become part of the international community, while also challenging the status quo and improving standards and norms. China is committed to working for justice in the world, even in places and societies that are still developing.
The Xi administration has implemented a number of policies to achieve its goals. Most notably, it is tackling climate change, tackling corruption, and growing its economy. China has also changed its foreign policy. It is now the world’s biggest creditor and is pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, which is a huge program to build infrastructure.
However, the leadership split that occurred on the eve of Xi’s ascension highlighted the rise of centrifugal forces under collective leadership. Xilai violated elite norms by building a public following with a public law-and-order campaign and economic populism. The Xi-Hu team failed to prevent Bo from openly campaigning for power.
The Xi Jinping administration has also stepped up its commitment to engaging the world while also adhering to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. It also strives to promote greater democracy in international relations and to enhance global partnerships that are more open and fair. In his speech at the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Xi stressed that the world has reached a crossroads in history. Ultimately, the future course of humankind will be determined by all of the world’s people.
President Xi’s announcement on climate change was a welcome development. Not only did it provide an opportunity for a diplomatic win, but it showed that China is serious about engaging the world rather than upsetting it. However, Xi did not specify exactly how to get to net zero emissions. He has promised to introduce measures to improve China’s energy mix and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The target, however, covers carbon dioxide emissions only and excludes methane and nitrous oxide.
Hu Chunhua’s potential replacement
Hu Chunhua is a rising star in Chinese politics. He is a state council vice premier and a strong contender for the premiership. A former party secretary in Guangdong province, Hu came up through the Communist Youth League. He is connected to Xi Jinping, but not related. He has served as party secretary for Inner Mongolia and the affluent Guangdong province. He is one of the youngest people in the top tier of the Chinese government, and powerful party elders have backed him.
Another potential successor to Xi is Chen Yixin, the Secretary-General of CPLAC. He is a trusted ally of Xi and worked with him in Zhejiang province. He has enjoyed rapid promotion in the party hierarchy under Xi’s push to control the security system. He is also a good choice to be the next head of CPLAC, although it is unclear whether he will be transferred to a post outside of the CPLAC system.
Ma Xingrui, born in November 1961, is another potential candidate. This aerospace engineer has connections to Xi Jinping and is one of the senior incumbent provincial leaders in China. He also belongs to a group of politicians with a military-industrial background, which is gaining in prominence in the Xi era. He has also served as party secretary in Guangdong and Liaoning provinces. He is also a native of Yuncheng, Shandong province. He could be a candidate, but he would have to stay in line with Xi Jinping.
While Xi Jinping is well on track for his third term, his political rivals are wary of him. He “reelected” himself at the 19th Party Congress in September 2017 after lifting the two-term limit for the presidency. As a result, he continues to be wary of potential rivals. He kept Premier Li Keqiang around as a show of power, but he has been looking for ways to undermine him and link him to the botched response to COVID-19.
Impact on China’s economy
A third term for Xi Jinping is a huge gamble. Western pundits have warned that his second term was bad for China and a third term would make matters worse. Xi is far from proving himself to be a perfect ruler and will risk ossification at home and increasing friction abroad. The ten years to come are likely to be even worse for China than the first two.
China’s third term presents a host of new challenges for Xi, including a property market meltdown that has sparked widespread derision and new restrictions to protect the country’s health care system. Moreover, China’s relations with the US, Europe, Australia, and Russia have fallen to their lowest point in years. In response, Xi’s speech has been mostly about national security and the country’s past successes.
The slowdown in growth is also affecting the Chinese people. Young people are having trouble finding jobs and saving money for the future. This is undermining the global perception of China’s rise. Also, investments in infrastructure that were paid for by the government have led to the biggest real estate bubble in the world, which is now likely to burst.
Despite the high expectations for a third term for Xi Jinping, the outlook for China’s economy remains uncertain. Many Western analysts believe that the economy is heading toward collapse due to its debt problems and state control. As a result, the country will likely have real GDP growth that is well below the average of East Asian countries. Even worse, it will be well below the long-term growth target of 5% per year.
As Vice President, Xi was forced to win a political fight against a populist rival, Bo Xilai. Bo had built a populist following as the crime-busting boss of Chongqing. However, party elders distrusted Bo because he appealed to people directly. He used music and the cultural revolution to appeal directly to the masses. (Also Read: Who is Joe Biden?)