Policy Brief  

What Does General Secretary Xi Jinping Dream About?

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This analysis argues that the period of easy reforms in China has ended, and the time of difficult reforms that touch core political interests has begun. The resulting challenges facing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) general secretary Xi Jinping when he is confirmed for another five-year-term span political, economic, and international spheres. This leadership must both maintain a domestic focus to strengthen economic growth and avoid the “middle-income trap,” while also engaging in a host of regional and global actions to cement China’s position on the world stage. Internally, Xi has consolidated significant political power, and this has created significant tension among vested interests and competing centers of influence. Externally, for the first time in several centuries, the largest economy in the world is not Western and will be under a leadership that does not share the same consensual values and political structures as those in the West. Xi has outlined several priorities, including: increased CCP control over state and society; the promotion of traditional Chinese culture; the importance of Marxism as a guiding principle; historical revisionism and censorship; the promotion of nationalism; and the pursuit of an aggressive national anti-corruption campaign. Given these goals and sets of challenges, the outcome in China is uncertain and there exist a range of possible scenarios.

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