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93 Foreign Aff. 80 (2014)
China's Imperial President: Xi Jinping Tightens His Grip

handle is hein.journals/fora93 and id is 1316 raw text is: China's Imperial President
Xi Jinping Tightens His Grip
Elizabeth C. Economy
Chinese President Xi Jinping has articulated a simple but pow-
erful vision: the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. It is
patriotic call to arms, drawing inspiration from the glories of
China's imperial past and the ideals of its socialist present to promote
political unity at home and influence abroad. After just two years in
office, Xi has advanced himself as a transformative leader, adopting
an agenda that proposes to reform, if not revolutionize, political and
economic relations not only within China but also with the rest of
the world.
Underlying Xi's vision is a growing sense of urgency. Xi assumed
power at a moment when China, despite its economic success, was
politically adrift. The Chinese Communist Party, plagued by corrup-
tion and lacking a compelling ideology, had lost credibility among
the public, and social unrest was on the rise. The Chinese economy,
still growing at an impressive clip, had begun to show signs of strain
and uncertainty. And on the international front, despite its position
as a global economic power, China was punching well below its weight.
Beijing had failed to respond effectively to the crises in Libya and
Syria and had stood by as political change rocked two of its closest
partners, Myanmar (also known as Burma) and North Korea. To many
observers, it appeared as though China had no overarching foreign
policy strategy.
Xi has reacted to this sense of malaise with a power grab-for himself,
for the Communist Party, and for China. He has rejected the com-
munist tradition of collective leadership, instead establishing himself
as the paramount leader within a tightly centralized political system.
ELIZABETH C. ECONOMY is C. V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director for Asia Studies at the
Council on Foreign Relations.


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