How Xi Jinping Transformed China—and His Challenges Ahead

  

Category:  Op/Ed

Via:  vic-eldred  •  one month ago  •  19 comments

By:   Patrick Barta (WSJ)

How Xi Jinping Transformed China—and His Challenges Ahead
Key findings from The Wall Street Journal's coverage as China's leader looks to another five-year term

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



As Xi Jinping locks in another five years as China's leader, The Wall Street Journal examined the changes he wrought during his first decade in power—and the risks they pose for China and the world in his third term.

Here are some of the key findings.

1. Mr. Xi is driven to ensure China can win a possible confrontation with the West.

Mr. Xi has come to see the  possibility of a showdown with the West as increasingly likely , according to people familiar with his thinking. That belief has added urgency to many of Mr. Xi’s biggest initiatives, including his push  to expand China’s military , reduce China’s reliance on Western technologies, and take bold foreign-policy risks—including a crackdown on Hong Kong that drew harsh criticism from across the world.

Many experts fear Mr. Xi will next try to take the democratic, self-ruled island of Taiwan, a move that could destabilize the region and bring China into open conflict with the U.S.

2. Mr. Xi is more powerful than ever within China—but his purges of rivals come at a cost.

Mr. Xi became China’s most formidable leader in decades through an  increasingly sophisticated campaign of anticorruption purges  that sidelined opponents and suppressed potential challenges to his power. Few are beyond Mr. Xi’s reach—not even one of his oldest friends, Wang Qishan, who once ran Mr. Xi’s campaigns. Over the past two years, antigraft enforcers have increasingly gone after people inside Mr. Wang’s political and personal circles, curtailing his influence.

Mr. Xi’s antigraft purges have antagonized members of the political elite and discouraged lower-level officials from making decisions for fear of running afoul of Beijing.

The unrelenting purges could make China’s political system less resilient over time by leaving senior leaders less willing to challenge Mr. Xi and debate policies.

3. Mr. Xi’s prioritization of politics over economic goals is clouding China’s long-term growth prospects.

Mr. Xi has said he wants to double the size of China’s economy by 2035—a goal that would require China’s economy to grow an average of nearly 5% annually. But many economists  now believe 5% won’t be achievable .

A major challenge, they say, is Mr. Xi’s insistence on greater state control at the expense of China’s more dynamic private sector.

That shift is a reversal of former leader Deng Xiaoping’s “reform and opening” process starting in 1978. It’s helping Mr. Xi achieve political objectives, including a redirection of capital into industries Beijing sees as strategically important as U.S.-China tensions deepen, like artificial intelligence.

But by carving out a bigger role for less-efficient state-owned enterprises, and putting private businesses at a disadvantage, Mr. Xi is exacerbating long-term problems for China, including slowdowns in productivity and wage growth.

4. Mr. Xi has extended the state deeper into citizens’ lives. Censorship and surveillance are making it hard to express opposition publicly.

Mr. Xi’s zero-tolerance policy toward Covid has  pushed his controls over society to entirely new levels . Many people start their days with government-mandated Covid tests from workers in white hazmat suits. Without proof of a negative result, public spaces are off limits, including grocery stores. People who have merely crossed paths with people infected by the virus are often forced into quarantine.

Such measures are testing people’s faith in a government that is no longer delivering the rapid economic growth that underpinned popular support for decades.

5. China’s military is stronger—but  questions remain about its readiness for battle .

Mr. Xi’s reorganization of the People’s Liberation Army has included a doubling of its budget and upgrades to its technology, including hypersonic missiles and swarming attack drones.

Strategists outside China say the PLA’s air and naval power is now so well-developed that it would be nearly impossible for other countries’ militaries to operate near China’s shoreline in a conflict. A growing nuclear arsenal is providing Beijing with the means to better deter rivals.

But China hasn’t fought a war since a brief border clash with Vietnam in 1979, so its service members have virtually no combat experience.

PLA publications say some officers make flawed operational decisions, struggle to lead their troops and sometimes don’t understand their own orders. Many young Chinese don’t want to join, depriving the military of talent.

6. Mr. Xi’s consolidation of power means tensions with the U.S. are likely to increase.

Despite the multiplying challenges China faces, Mr. Xi’s ability to  fill key government posts with allies  means he’ll be able to double down on hawkish policies in his third term if he wishes.

This means U.S.-China relations are likely to remain fraught. The upshot could be more economic decoupling and more punitive actions on both sides that could deter trade and investment, close off markets and upset asset values.

It could also lead to higher risk of armed conflict, especially over Taiwan—unless the U.S. and China find new common ground for collaboration.


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Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    one month ago

He is the most consequential Chinese leader since Mao and unlike Mao, he has foreign policy ambitions as well.

 
 
 
Snuffy
Masters Guide
2  Snuffy    one month ago
2. Mr. Xi is more powerful than ever within China—but his purges of rivals come at a cost.

Mr. Xi became China’s most formidable leader in decades through an  increasingly sophisticated campaign of anticorruption purges  that sidelined opponents and suppressed potential challenges to his power. Few are beyond Mr. Xi’s reach—not even one of his oldest friends, Wang Qishan, who once ran Mr. Xi’s campaigns. Over the past two years, antigraft enforcers have increasingly gone after people inside Mr. Wang’s political and personal circles, curtailing his influence.

Mr. Xi’s antigraft purges have antagonized members of the political elite and discouraged lower-level officials from making decisions for fear of running afoul of Beijing.

The unrelenting purges could make China’s political system less resilient over time by leaving senior leaders less willing to challenge Mr. Xi and debate policies.

Isn't this what Putin did in Russia, getting rid of any leadership that threatened him and insuring his circle was filled with "yes men"?  And now that he's losing a war against a much smaller country, it seems like he's not getting good advice from his circle.  Will the same happen in China?

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
3  Sean Treacy    one month ago

Taking China back to the 60s.  Maoism is back, personality cult and all.  Instead of a little red book, it's an app:


"The Xi cult is also intrinsically humiliating for China’s educated middle-class and senior officials — who have to study Xi thought daily on a special app. They are expected to express reverence for the leader’s musings and to parrot his favourite phrases, such as “green mountains and clear water are equal to mountains of gold and silver”. Anybody who finds this ritual objectionable or laughable, would be wise to keep their thoughts to themselves. The Xi cult means that insincerity and fear are now baked into the Chinese system."
 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Guide
4  Tacos!    one month ago
As Xi Jinping locks in another five years as China's leader

They had an “election.” That’s like a sick joke, right?

 
 
 
George
Freshman Participates
4.1  George  replied to  Tacos! @4    one month ago

He was legitimately elected, Just like Putin.....Nothing to see here, move along.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
4.2  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Tacos! @4    one month ago

I think the coronation is this week.  

"Hold High the Great Banner of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and Strive in Unity to Build a Modern Socialist Country in All Respects"

If you have got a couple hours that you want to lose or if into self-abuse, you can read  Big Daddy Xi's  speech at the link above.  

News reports at the beginning of the Party Congress reported that the CCP has nearly 100 million members.  As the Congress ends, it's obvious that those reports were gross hyperbole, the CCP is a Party of 1.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
4.3  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Tacos! @4    one month ago
They had an “election.” That’s like a sick joke

I expect Joe Biden call him to congradulate him on the victory at any minute.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Senior Expert
4.3.1  Gsquared  replied to  Vic Eldred @4.3    one month ago

Your propaganda:

I expect Joe Biden call him to congradulate him on the victory at any minute.

Reality (following the Chinese Communist Party announcement of February 25, 2018, ending the two-term limit for the President):

U.S. President Donald Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping Saturday after the ruling Communist party announced it was eliminating the two-term limit for the presidency, paving the way for Xi to serve indefinitely, according to audio aired by CNN. He’s now president for life, president for life. And he’s great,” Trump said , according to audio of excerpts of Trump’s remarks at a closed-door fundraiser in Florida aired by CNN. “And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday,” Trump said to cheers and applause from supporters ." (Emphasis added)

Trump praises Chinese president extending tenure 'for life' | Reuters

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
4.3.2  devangelical  replied to  Vic Eldred @4.3    one month ago
I expect Joe Biden call him to congradulate him on the victory at any minute.

xi is probably busy on the phone with trumpski assuring him that the family's trademarks are still safe.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Guide
4.3.3  Tacos!  replied to  Vic Eldred @4.3    one month ago

Oh geez. That’s actually worse. Imagine congratulating someone on being a dictator.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
4.3.4  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Tacos! @4.3.3    one month ago

[Deleted]

 
 
 
Gsquared
Senior Expert
4.3.5  Gsquared  replied to  Tacos! @4.3.3    one month ago

It is hard to imagine how many dictators Trump has repeatedly congratulated and praised, even as recently as within the last couple of weeks with his continuing praise for his favorite dictator, Putin.

Biden, of course, will not be congratulating Xi, notwithstanding the fatuous comment in 4.3, above.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
4.3.6  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Tacos! @4.3.3    one month ago

A senile old man who dozes off in the middle of an interview is certainly capable.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
4.3.7  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Gsquared @4.3.5    one month ago
Biden, of course, will not be congratulating Xi

Why not?  Joe & Hunter took $Millions from China.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
4.3.8  Tessylo  replied to  Vic Eldred @4.3.7    one month ago

That's not true.  

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
4.3.9  Tessylo  replied to  Tacos! @4.3.3    one month ago

Yeah, Imagine that.  What a shocker!

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
4.3.10  Tessylo  replied to  Gsquared @4.3.5    one month ago
"It is hard to imagine how many dictators Trump has repeatedly congratulated and praised, even as recently as within the last couple of weeks with his continuing praise for his favorite dictator, Putin. Biden, of course, will not be congratulating Xi, notwithstanding the fatuous comment in 4.3 , above ."

jrSmiley_93_smiley_image.jpg

 
 
 
George
Freshman Participates
5  George    one month ago

Mr. Xi became China’s most formidable leader in decades through an    increasingly sophisticated campaign of anticorruption purges  

That's like the Mafia removing the "criminal" element from its social club.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
6  Tessylo    one month ago

“And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday,” Trump said to cheers and applause from supporters ." (Emphasis added)

Isn't that what he attempted on 1/6?  Maybe not for life but . . . .

Been there done that TT?  (That's my new nickname for #45, figure it out)

 
 

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