Xi Jinping: the game changer of Chinese elite politics?

Zhengxu Wang, Jinghan Zeng

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Amidst China’s emergence as a global power, Xi Jinping is pushing through a range of ambitious reform plans that are reconfiguring both Chinese domestic politics and foreign policy. A fierce anti-corruption campaign has led to the dismissal of a large number of powerful figures, while a major effort has begun to bring party, state, and military power within Xi’s control. Many observers have interpreted these moves as radically altering the rules of game of elite politics, if not creating a personalistic political system. Our analysis shows that Xi’s corruption fighting and power centralisation represent part of his state-building project, in order to enhance the party-state’s capacity for the pursuit of governance objectives. We identify three rules regarding the Party’s power succession that would provide a critical test regarding how radically Xi is prepared to alter the Party’s key norms. The outcome of the 19th party congress in late 2017 would make it clearer whether Xi is in an effort to further institutionalise Party politics or turning the regime into his one-man rule.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-486
Number of pages18
JournalContemporary Politics
Issue number4
Early online date28 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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