Xi Jingping honor guard in Beijing Feng Li/Getty Images

The Year Ahead 2017

Xi Jinping’s Year of Living Dangerously

It might seem ludicrous to suggest that Chinese President Xi Jinping, the country’s most powerful leader since Mao, could be in trouble. But looks can be deceiving: the true test of Xi's authority will come in later this year, when the Chinese Communist Party holds it 19th National Congress to select China's next leaders.

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – It might seem ludicrous to suggest that Chinese President Xi Jinping, the country’s most powerful leader since Mao, will be in danger in 2017. But looks can be deceiving, and his consolidation of power may not be as unassailable as it seems. The test will come this year, when the Chinese Communist Party holds its 19th National Congress to select a new team of leaders to serve under Xi.

To be sure, since becoming CCP General Secretary in November 2012, Xi has made great strides in establishing his own authority. With a sustained anti-corruption campaign, Xi has jailed more than 200 senior officials and generals – many of them members of rival factions. Unable to mount an effective counter-offensive, Xi’s rivals have watched him elevate his own supporters to key party posts.

But that might change at 2017’s party congress. Though Xi is guaranteed a second five-year term, he could struggle to overcome opposition to a series of personnel decisions that he is expected to make – or refuse to make.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/SXKd2Bc;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.