Self Help

CEO, China - Kerry Brown

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 50 min read

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Here is a summary of the key points from the preface:

  • Writing about Chinese politics is challenging as there is a perception that only insiders truly understand the opaque system. Outsiders are criticized for either not understanding or being too sympathetic.

  • The author has studied Chinese elite politics for 25 years using hybrid approaches from various fields, not just inside knowledge. He treats Chinese political behavior like anywhere else, focusing on universal drives for power rather than unique characteristics.

  • Xi Jinping is the current leader of China who surprisingly consolidated more power than expected. But power in China is tricky - the right framework is needed to understand the different types of power leaders wield.

  • Chinese politics exists in a specific historical, cultural and social context that gives it characteristics requiring interpretation. Overemphasizing the Communist Party structure risks missing ideological and emotional aspects.

  • Dynamics of Chinese politics are visible but interpreting them to devise accurate explanations is challenging given its evolving nature and opaque workings. The book aims to shed light on Xi’s rise to power and agenda.

  • The passage aims to provide an introduction and overview of the book, which examines Chinese politics through the lens of Xi Jinping and his relationship with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

  • It seeks to strike a balance between generalizations and specifics when capturing the dynamism of Chinese politics. Empirical observation and imagination both play a role.

  • The goal is to make Chinese politics more accessible to a wide audience and encourage engagement with China’s political trajectory, rather than viewing it in remote or mysterious terms.

  • Key questions addressed include where power is located in China and how best to describe it. The CCP is analyzed as both a complex institution pursuing national visions and an extremely successful “business” that Xi tries to steer towards a cultural/ideological mission.

  • Confucius quotes introduce each chapter to frame discussions around traditional Chinese concepts of authority given their importance to modern Chinese leaders like Xi seeking legitimacy.

  • In summary, the passage aims to provide an analytical yet accessible overview of the book’s examination of contemporary Chinese politics through the lens of Xi Jinping and his relationship to the evolving CCP.

In 2007, Xi Jinping was appointed as the temporary Party secretary of Shanghai to replace Chen Liangyu, who had just been purged for corruption. Xi held a largely provincial career up to that point. His appointment to lead Shanghai was meant to stabilize the city ahead of the leadership transition later that year. Xi’s name had recently started coming up as a potential candidate for the all-important Politburo Standing Committee. Taking over Shanghai raised his national profile right before the leadership reshuffle. However, at the time, others like Li Keqiang were seen as more likely future national leaders than Xi. Chen Liangyu’s dramatic downfall created political turbulence in Shanghai just as the Communist Party was preparing for its leadership succession, so appointing Xi provided temporary experienced leadership.

The passage describes meeting Xi Jinping in 2007 when he was the Party Secretary of Shanghai. The author was part of a delegation from Liverpool visiting Shanghai. They were surprised to get a meeting with Xi, as he was expected to become one of China’s most powerful leaders soon.

The meeting with Xi followed typical Chinese protocol - they were driven by motorcade to a government building. Xi efficiently shook hands with everyone and had a brief, policy-focused discussion. British journalists said Xi likely met with them because it posed little political risk.

The passage reflects on power in modern China using Mao Zedong and Jiang Qing as examples. Mao understood power and how to acquire and wield it, though at tremendous human cost. Jiang rose politically through her marriage to Mao but lost power completely after his death. Xi’s career is presented as a case study for understanding power in China today - how it is gained and what its nature is, within the context of the country’s economic and political rise on the global stage.

  • In September 1976, no attempts to remove or replace Mao succeeded after his death. However, over time his image and influence have declined in China. His statues and sayings are less prominent, and younger Chinese see him more as a historic founder than a living political force.

  • Mao’s exercise of power through cult of personality, mass campaigns, and propaganda deeply impacted the Chinese people. This style continues to influence Chinese politics today, both admired and criticized. Politicians like Bo Xilai tried to invoke Maoism but were accused of “abusing his legacy.”

  • Mao’s legacy includes both China’s developmental successes under his rule but also enormous tragedies and deaths, especially during the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. Xi sees Mao and Deng’s eras as parts of a whole and is proud to live with Mao’s legacy, believing past mistakes will be forgiven if China achieves rejuvenation.

  • Xi’s commitment to aspects of Maoism shows he has faith in perfect outcomes being achievable through political will and action. Like Mao, he speaks of fulfilling dreams in an idealistic way, which some see as worrying since idealists can act on dreams with open eyes.

  • Xi Jinping leads the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which originated in 1921 with just 13 members and operated underground due to repression by the ruling Nationalists.

  • The CCP evolved from a Marxist party focusing on urban workers to a “farmers’ party” led by Mao Zedong, who came to dominate the party through his ruthless tactics and elimination of dissent.

  • Mao understood brute power and amassed iron discipline within the party. The CCP’s culture of power was linked to its control over violence, information, economic resources, and all aspects of society. China under Mao appeared complex but ultimately power came down to one man.

  • Now, Xi presents the CCP’s history as initially focused on revolution then transitioning to governance after 1949. However, the party’s early use of violence and coercive methods to seize and maintain power cannot be neatly compartmentalized.

  • Xi justifies the CCP’s actions by arguing it has now learned lessons and can effectively govern to make China great again. But the party’s roots in the monopolization of power remain fundamental to understanding its nature and Xi’s vision of strengthening its role.

  • The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) currently locates its legitimacy in three pillars: its role in defeating Japan in WWII, unifying China after the civil war, and launching economic reforms in 1978.

  • However, the CCP’s role in defeating Japan was minor, and the civil war victory is still contested by Taiwan. Its strongest claim is economic success since 1978.

  • The CCP exists primarily for power and control. It avoids following the Soviet Union’s collapse by continually adapting and justifying its rule.

  • A key justification is the narrative that the CCP restored China’s dignity and greatness after foreign humiliation. This narrative is difficult for Chinese to resist openly.

  • The CCP conflates its destiny with China’s interests, presenting itself as indispensable for China’s continued rise. It draws on traditional culture to bolster its claims of representing China.

  • While some pragmatic Chinese accept CCP rule due to economic success, the CCP’s grand claims of representing all Chinese ideals is contentious given its dictatorial nature. Overall control of the historical narrative remains critical to its legitimacy.

  • The CCP sees itself as having the ultimate role of leadership and control over China’s destiny and development as a nation. This gives it the right to make decisions across all areas and justify its right to power.

  • Xi Jinping, as CCP general secretary in 2013, led an organization of over 80 million members. Real power is concentrated at the upper levels of the Party hierarchy.

  • The 25-member Politburo, especially its 7-member Standing Committee, acts as the top decision-making body setting the overall political agenda and ideology. Control over this group means control over the Party and country.

  • The Politburo operates autonomously with no accountability. Politburo members have broad authority and oversight over all policy areas like security, economy, and foreign affairs.

  • Due to its highly centralized power structure continuing Leninist traditions, the CCP remains a self-governing entity not subject to checks from other groups in society. Ultimate authority rests with the top Party leadership.

  • The Chinese Communist Party views its top leaders as holding quasi-religious positions, with the general secretary as the equivalent of the Pope. Strict party discipline is crucial to maintain control.

  • The Central Discipline and Inspection Commission (CDIC) enforces party discipline and conducts anti-corruption campaigns. It maintains secrecy and modesty despite its powerful role investigating party members.

  • Chinese leaders utilize existing party structures to consolidate power, like Deng Xiaoping did through the Central Leadership Advisory Group. Xi Jinping chairs four of the eight most influential leading groups, giving him control over key policy areas.

  • Power relies not just on institutions but ideas. Ideology remains important for China’s political elite, though not average citizens. The party frames policy changes through ideological justifications to maintain legitimacy. Xi promotes the “China Dream” vision.

  • The party seeks to control ideological discourse and promote a leadership vocabulary to distinguish elite political statements. Leadership styles like Hu Jintao’s emphasized impersonal slogans over charisma. Xi Jinping’s style partially follows this “leading group” model but puts more emphasis on charismatic leadership.

Controlling the message and the messenger is critical for holders of power in China. The Communist Party utilizes strict control over information dissemination through media, propaganda agencies, and the internet. While information control was simpler under Mao through isolation, the modern internet age poses new challenges that require constant adaptation.

The Party maintains tight control over messaging through censorship, screening of online content, and propaganda. Xi recognizes information work is more important and complex now. Under Mao, ideas came from one source through total control, but today the internet allows both infiltration of outside ideas and monitoring of public opinion.

The Party ensures it remains the sole authority on news about itself. Outside observers have very little information about internal Party workings and meetings. Language also plays an important role in asserting and communicating power. Mao was skillful in developing an iconic language, and language remains intimately linked to asserting Party authority today through privileged terminology. Xi takes a slightly more personal approach than Hu, but still relies on ideological slogans. Overall, controlling information dissemination and the discussion of ideas remains paramount for the Communist Party to maintain power.

  • For Maoist China, poverty was widespread as the economy grew slowly from a very low base, often through coercive measures like the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution that impeded growth. Business people were persecuted and the private sector was suppressed.

  • Deng Xiaoping liberalized the economy in the late 1970s, lifting ideological barriers against entrepreneurship. Quickly a small wealthy class emerged involved in business. By the 2000s this group had grown larger and more influential, with some joining the Communist Party.

  • While money now matters more to the Party and gives some influence, China ensures no individuals or groups can wield unchecked power like Russian oligarchs once did. Corruption from money is a major challenge for Party leadership.

  • The Party maintains control over key state-owned enterprises and the economy through taxation and budgets, allowing it to influence provinces. Its own budget and finances are secretive with no auditing or transparency.

  • The Party relies on control over security forces like the military, police and secret services to enforce its power through potential or actual violence if needed. These groups closely support the Party’s leadership.

  • Familial and clan networks within the Party and elites also provide important informal channels of influence and privileged access to power in addition to state institutions. Belonging to these networks is beneficial in China’s one-party system.

  • Prominent Chinese families with long ties to the Communist Party, like those linked to former leaders Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin, still wield significant clout behind the scenes. However, their power may be more symbolic than substantive, with perhaps only 20-30 families having real influence.

  • Clan and family connections provide benefits like access to other elite decision-makers, knowledge of who can be trusted, and a kind of name recognition similar to political dynasties in other countries. They help individuals rise through the ranks.

  • Some prominent families have been able to leverage their political capital into control over key state assets and lucrative sectors of the economy, like energy and telecommunications. However, this also opens them up to criticism of profiting from their positions.

  • The party struggles with articulating a clear ethical basis for its actions beyond pragmatism and asserting its own interests. This has undermined its moral authority over time. Current leaders like Xi Jinping are trying to reclaim the narrative of fighting for justice and promoting core socialist values.

  • The CCP justifies its power based on having a grand vision and path to deliver a strong and powerful China. It claims only the party has the right ideas through Marxism to achieve historical progress and perfection.

  • The party maintains stirring nationalist narratives to connect its rule to China’s past and future aspirations from Mao to the present. It sets long-term landmark goals to 2049 to pursue its idealistic visions.

  • Foreign observers may see the CCP as a harsh, ruthless machine, but it has an idealistic side in believing in scientific development and rules to achieve a better world. The party alone can drive toward these visions through its monopoly on power freed from elections.

  • Xi Jinping now leads China as it hits a crossroads in pursuing this vision. The party appeals to emotions through art, music and language to inspire support. National pride and honor play a key role in its historical narratives to stay in power.

  • Xi Jinping was born in 1953 in Beijing to Xi Zhongxun, a prominent military leader and government official. Xi enjoyed a privileged upbringing as the son of elite Communist Party members.

  • In 1962, Xi’s father Xi Zhongxun fell out of favor politically due to accusations made by Kang Sheng, Mao Zedong’s head of security. Xi Zhongxun was dismissed from his government role.

  • During the Cultural Revolution starting in 1966, accusations against Xi Zhongxun intensified and he was purged, imprisoned, and suffered greatly. This had a big impact on young Xi Jinping.

  • Xi Jinping had a scrappy rise to power, almost missing election to the Central Committee in 1997. It was not inevitable or carefully planned that he would become the top leader of China. His background and family ties were also liabilities at times earlier in his career.

  • As leader, Xi has distinguished himself from predecessors by promoting his own personal narrative and background to gain political legitimacy and validation. He portrays himself as having grassroots experience and understanding of the people due to time sent down to rural areas during the Cultural Revolution.

  • During the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, Xi Jinping’s father was effectively expelled from Beijing and sent away for “re-education” through hard labor. Xi was unable to join Red Guard groups due to his father’s disgrace.

  • In 1969, like millions of other Chinese youths, the teenage Xi was “sent down” from Beijing to rural Shaanxi province to live and work in the countryside. This period of “rustication” lasted until 1975.

  • Xi took on various manual labor jobs, including as a barefoot doctor. Conditions were often harsh. However, he seemed to fit in well with the village community he was sent to.

  • In 1972, after appealing to Premier Zhou Enlai, Xi was able to visit his father, who was still detained. Two years later, despite his father’s issues, Xi was allowed to join the Communist Party.

  • Xi returned to Beijing in 1975 to continue his education as a “Workers’ Brigade Scholar.” While difficult, he later said his time in rural Shaanxi taught him resilience and strengthened his self-confidence.

  • Xi’s rustication ended as Mao’s rule came to a close. Mao died in 1976, ending the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution and allowing reunification of dispersed families.

  • Xi Jinping’s father, Xi Zhongxun, was rehabilitated and appointed second secretary of Guangdong Province in 1978 after being politically sidelined under Mao.

  • Guangdong became the frontline of China’s economic reforms under Deng Xiaoping. It embraced market reforms, foreign capital, and entrepreneurialism after years of Maoist policies against these things.

  • Xi Zhongxun played a prominent role in Guangdong’s economic transformation as reforms were implemented there first on an experimental basis.

  • Some credit Xi Zhongxun with the idea of setting up Special Economic Zones in Guangdong to incubate market reforms. The success of the SEZs helped prove the merits of reforms to critics.

  • Xi Jinping attended Qinghua University in Beijing in the late 1970s. By this time, the violence of the Cultural Revolution had subsided. After graduating, he got a position working for the Politburo through his father’s connections.

  • Xi Jinping began his career working for Geng Biao, who was head of the People’s Liberation Army and responsible for setting China’s overall military strategy.

  • In the early 1980s, the PLA was undergoing modernization after experiencing failures in the Vietnam War. It needed technological, cultural, and political reforms to transition from a peasant guerilla force to a modern military.

  • Xi helped Geng prepare for a visit to the US to study economic and technological reforms. However, Geng later had policy differences with Deng Xiaoping regarding the stationing of troops in Hong Kong.

  • As a result, Geng advised Xi in 1981-1982 to seek a career elsewhere, as staying close to Geng could prove politically damaging. Xi then left Beijing and started working in provincial China instead of continuing his military career.

  • In the 1980s, Xi first worked in a village in Hebei province, starting at the lowest local government level to gain broad experience. This was a difficult job, as village officials faced implementing unpopular policies.

  • Xi’s career in Hebei was complicated by divorcing his wife and rejecting opportunities to study abroad or take jobs overseas. He was also resented by his boss Gao Yang in Hebei, who saw Xi as having benefited from nepotism rather than ability.

  • Xi Jinping spent time in the coastal province of Fujian in the 1980s, which exposed him to China’s economic reforms and opening up policies in practice.

  • He worked first in the city of Xiamen from 1985-1988, seeing the growth of factories and wealth creation through foreign investment. It was also where he met and married his wife Peng Liyuan.

  • From 1988-1990, Xi was district Party secretary of the poorer area of Ningde township. This gave him experience dealing with poverty and corruption from local officials profiting from land sales.

  • In 1990, Xi became Party secretary of the larger city of Fuzhou in Fujian. However, this was a difficult time after the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, which increased uncertainty about reforms. Foreign investment withdrew from China.

  • Xi’s experiences in Fujian exposed him firsthand to both the benefits and challenges of China’s economic reforms during this critical period in the 1980s.

  • Deng Xiaoping was empowering and supporting local officials to continue reforming and opening up China after the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. This gave places like Fuzhou a boost.

  • Xi Jinping’s career then progressed, making him a deputy governor of Fujian province in 1996. This allowed him to stand for the Central Committee in 1997, though controversy remains as he only ranked 151st out of 150 candidates. The number was extended to include him.

  • In 2000, Xi was promoted to full governor of Fujian, then in 2002 became Party secretary of Zhejiang province, a more powerful position.

  • Zhejiang enjoyed strong economic growth under Xi’s leadership from 2002-2007 due to private sector growth, international trade, and foreign investment. Exports rose 33% annually.

  • During this time, Xi supported emerging Chinese companies like Alibaba and Geely which later became globally successful. He also attracted foreign companies to invest in Zhejiang.

  • Speculation began in 2005 about who might succeed Hu Jintao in 2012. The top candidates were seen as Li Keqiang, Li Yuanchao, and Xi Jinping, though the two Lis were initially favored over Xi.

Here are the key points about being a provincial leader in China based on the passage:

  • Provincial leadership is important as it is a pathway to national leadership. Past Chinese leaders like Jintao and Xi came from provincial leadership backgrounds.

  • Provinces in China have large populations and economies, comparable to major countries. Being the Party leader of a Chinese province is a huge responsibility, with failure leading to punishment.

  • Provincial leaders are under intense pressure to deliver economic and stability targets.

  • Provincial leaders are usually outsiders to their provinces, not locally born. This is a deliberate strategy to reduce the influence of local clans and networks that could undermine central control. Outsiders are harder for local forces to co-opt or exert influence over.

  • Being an outsider leader in a province presents challenges, as one is not native to the area and surrounded by people who are locally born and bred. It requires winning acceptance and control as an outsider.

So in summary, provincial leadership is a stepping stone to national leadership in China and a critical but tough responsibility given the scale and importance of Chinese provinces as well as challenges of being an outsider leader.

  • Xi Jinping was appointed to chair the coordinating committee for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, an important role that came with many challenges.

  • China had spent $42 billion preparing for the Games but there were issues with money being misused and air pollution threatening athletes.

  • In the lead-up to the Olympics in 2008, there were riots in Tibet over China’s rule, forcing security crackdowns and news blackouts.

  • An earthquake in Sichuan killed over 80,000 and tested relief efforts led initially by Premier Wen Jiabao, with Xi’s family volunteering. However, activists questioning unequal rebuilding were later prosecuted.

  • China faced international criticism over its actions in Africa and relationship with problematic regimes, as well as large protests along the Olympic torch relay route over China’s human rights record.

  • The mishandling of the torch protests, including an attack on a disabled Chinese runner in Paris, generated much negative publicity and nationalist backlash in China, making Xi’s role in overseeing the Olympics hugely challenging.

  • The 2008 Beijing Olympics was meant to showcase China’s soft power, but instead highlighted tensions between China and the outside world. Both sides had significant reservations about each other.

  • The Olympics succeeded in its goal of no security incidents and China topping the medal tables. This bolstered Xi Jinping’s political ambitions.

  • After unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang, China increased funding for security services to maintain stability and cracked down on dissidents seen as disruptive.

  • China also grew more ideologically opposed to foreign models of governance, civil society, and political reform. It wanted to find its own path, not copy the West.

  • The global financial crisis and Arab Spring further complicated views of Western democracy and bolstered more conservative thinking in China. China could not rely on the West.

  • Events reinforced China’s view that the US tries to destabilize countries and undermine China through ideology. China stressed its uniqueness more as a result.

The passage discusses the sources of Xi Jinping’s power and position that enabled him to become China’s leader in 2012 during the political succession. Xi had built dense networks within the Party elite over years through his father’s connections, linking him to both reformist and conservative factions. He was a known quantity within the Party.

While not at the forefront of major policy issues, Xi’s propagandists worked to publicize his varied experience. Journalists and suspected intelligence agents also indicated he was worth watching. However, the succession process was opaque without clear rules, relying more on manipulating consensus behind closed doors.

Stability was the overarching priority to avoid elite conflict threatening the Party’s cohesion. This pushed the elite to maintain ranks despite potential support for rivals like Bo Xilai. Ultimately, only a tiny pool of candidates within the Central Committee and Standing Committee were truly in contention. Of these, Xi seemed to bridge both the institutional authority as highest-ranking official, and ideological appeal through his symbolic lineage and networks within the Party structure.

  • Xi Jinping came to power in China because he was able to convince the elite Party leadership that he truly believed in the Party’s mission and right to rule. His background and experience supported this belief.

  • Chinese politics incorporates elements of imperial leadership, the CCP’s warlord origins, and modern technocratic governance. Leaders draw on resources from all of these.

  • Max Weber categorized leaders as either magicians/prophets or warlords/gang leaders. Mao exhibited qualities of both, while later reformist leaders were more pragmatic. It’s unclear where Xi fits - he appeals to Mao but also emphasizes stable development.

  • Conviction is important in politics, but dogmatism can be problematic, as seen in Pol Pot. Deng is viewed as pragmatic despite ideological criticism.

  • Observers debate whether Chinese leaders really believe in communism or just power. But it’s patronizing to not consider they may have real beliefs and vision beyond just wealth and control. Xi claims profound belief in the Party’s mission.

So in summary, the passage discusses Xi’s path to power and the complexity of analyzing Chinese political leadership, weighing believing in the system against pragmatism and the risk of dogmatism.

  • The CCP leadership is often viewed as cynical and manipulative, but maintaining control requires that large segments of the population and elite truly believe in the party’s ideology.

  • Xi sees himself as serving the party. He believes the party represents the interests of the Chinese people and has played a sacred role in guiding China’s modern history and articulating its national vision.

  • Strengthening party rule and ensuring party officials exemplify its values is key to maintaining control. The party must also maintain close ties with the people and seek popular support.

  • Mao poses a challenge as both a dictator responsible for massive costs but also a symbol of national strength. Xi stresses the unity between pre-1978 and post-1978 China under Marxist party rule, rather than the differences in how it achieved its goals.

  • While acknowledging mistakes like the Cultural Revolution, Xi sees the pre-1978 era as a “rich resource” that can be learned from. Repudiating Mao wholesale is impermissible. Maintaining elements of Maoist ideology like the people’s democratic dictatorship is important.

  • Appealing to Mao’s symbolic power and role in understanding Chinese political power is important for Xi’s legitimacy as the new leader, even if he does not personally endorse all of Mao’s actions.

  • Family relationships are among the most important for Xi, including his wife, daughter, and other close family members. Keeping family loyal and benefiting from their relationships is important.

  • Political alliances on the Standing Committee and in the Party are also critical. Xi’s closest allies in leadership positions help him wield power.

  • Friendships from the past provide more personal connections, but may not have direct institutional influence.

  • Bureaucratic supporters implement Xi’s agenda through their work in the Party bureaucracy on a day-to-day basis.

  • Intellectual influences like advisors help shape Xi’s thinking without necessarily holding positions.

  • Enemies, antagonists, and threats are also important for Xi to manage as challenges to his power.

  • These relationships are dynamic - people can rise or fall from favor over time. There is overlap between categories as well. Understanding Xi’s network of relationships is key to understanding how he exercises power. Family ties remain very important in China’s political system.

  • In modern China, even distant familial connections like cousins can provide opportunities through patronage and exploiting elite links, not just close relatives. Those who marry into elite families can also benefit.

  • The daughters of current leaders Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang will likely marry non-elites someday, connecting those individuals to the Chinese elite network in a way that could create new groups with close CCP ties. In-laws on both sides have become active users of benefits from elite associations.

  • Extended patronage is also seen with foreigners, like Xi’s niece’s British husband who apparently derived some advantages. Little restriction is placed on flexibility of patronage in China today.

  • Xi Jinping’s wife, Peng Liyuan, has become a political asset due to her fame and popularity. She helps craft a more personable image for Xi and allows him to connect with the public in a way not previously seen for Chinese elite leaders through disclosure of their private lives.

The passage discusses the relationship between Xi Jinping and Peng Liyuan, as well as Xi’s alliance with Wang Qishan.

Peng Liyuan, Xi’s wife, is a prominent soft power and political asset for Xi. However, she also brings some political baggage from her past performances supporting the Chinese government. Nonetheless, Xi and the Communist Party have promoted her public image to appeal to Chinese women and display a more feminized leadership.

Xi has one key political ally - Wang Qishan. Wang has a history of competently managing crises for the Communist Party. He was appointed to head the anti-corruption commission, an important role in Xi’s priority of restoring moral credibility. Xi and Wang’s political fortunes are now tied together through this mission. Their relationship shows that unexpected alliances can form based on shared policy priorities and competencies, rather than just personal ties.

In summary, the passage examines Xi’s relationship with his wife Peng and longtime political ally Wang to provide insights into Xi’s leadership strategy and allies within the Communist Party hierarchy.

  • Wang Qishan showed an ability to handle corruption as mayor of Beijing and vice premier. In 2006 as mayor, he removed his corrupt vice mayor in charge of Olympics construction projects and accused him of embezzlement. Several other high-level officials also fell in an anti-corruption crackdown, earning Wang promotion to vice premier in 2007.

  • As head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in 2012, Wang proved an effective and loyal ally to Xi Jinping in aggressively investigating corruption cases, including high-level targets. However, this created many powerful enemies for both of them.

  • Xi has closer alliances with three other Politburo colleagues - Li Keqiang, Liu Yunshan, and Yu Zhengsheng. While their roles and alignments are complex, they generally provide supportive constituencies for Xi, with Yu representing more conservative forces as an older statesman.

  • Less visible but highly influential are bureaucrats like Ding Xuexiang, Xi’s private secretary, and Zhong Shaojun, his advisor - these unelected officials have immense access and influence as gatekeepers and whisperers in Xi’s ear.

The passage describes some of the key people in Xi Jinping’s inner circle who serve as advisers, confidants, and help implement his agenda.

Zhong Shaojun has served as Xi’s personal secretary since they worked together in Zhejiang province in the early 2000s. He remains highly influential and covers foreign affairs and military matters. Deeper in the shadows is Zhu Guofen, who also serves as Xi’s personal secretary.

Li Zhanshu is a more well-known member as the director of the General Office and Politburo member. He has known Xi since the 1980s. He Yiting is based at the CCP Policy Research Office and assists Xi on anti-corruption efforts.

When it comes to intellectual influences and sources of ideas, Chen Xi, a classmate of Xi’s from Qinghua University in the 1970s, is very influential as deputy director of the Organization Department. Wang Huning, who has worked in the Policy Research Office for decades, also provides ideological guidance and helps translate Xi’s thoughts into policies and programs.

The final influence mentioned is Liu He, who serves as deputy of the National Development and Reform Commission and director of the Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, focusing on economic matters. These individuals play key advisory and implementation roles in Xi’s inner circle.

  • Liu He is a senior economic advisor to Xi Jinping and considered very important to him. When introducing Liu to Tom Donilon in 2013, Xi said “He is very important to me,” similar to how Mao described Hua Guofeng as his successor.

  • Liu has a background in market-based economics and attended Harvard. He played a key role in shaping China’s acknowledgement of the market’s role in economic reforms announced in 2013.

  • Xi maintains links to some non-political figures, including Hu Deping, son of reformist leader Hu Yaobang. In 2012, Hu Deping met with Xi and advocated for continued but stable political and economic reforms.

  • Xi’s main opposition comes from within the Communist Party, particularly leftists who are critical of economic reforms and increasing inequality. They invoke Mao and socialism in their critiques.

  • A 2012 government-World Bank report advocating further market reforms angered many leftists and economists who saw it as capitulating to Western capitalism at the cost of socialism. They sent an open letter criticizing the report.

  • The letter criticizes the China 2030 report published by the World Bank and Development Research Center of China for challenging China’s socialist system and promoting capitalist policies.

  • It argues the report aims to reduce the role of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and increase the role of private entrepreneurs, surrendering control of the economy.

  • SOEs are important for the state’s revenues, welfare programs, employment, and economic stability, according to the letter. Reducing their role would undermine the state.

  • More extreme critics see the report and its partners as Western attempts to infiltrate and destabilize China, likening it to Western interventions in Russia that contributed to its downfall in the 1990s.

  • Online Maoist critics argue China has strayed from Mao’s path by empowering corrupt political and business elites at the expense of workers and the poor. Figures like Mao’s own relatives accruing vast wealth through business contradict his legacy.

  • The most prominent online critic is the Utopia website, which was shut down in 2012 after defending Bo Xilai. It attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors with critiques of inequality under post-1978 reforms.

  • Mao Yushi directly criticized Mao Zedong for being responsible for the Great Chinese Famine and claimed Mao was consumed by his thirst for power above all else.

  • Mao Yushi argued Mao cared more about eliminating political enemies than national unity or the people’s interests. All national matters became personal matters for the Mao family.

  • In response, some Maoists presented petitions demanding Mao Yushi be prosecuted for his criticisms of Mao. Online comments expressed desire to see Mao Yushi and other “anti-Mao reactionaries” annihilated.

  • Fan, a pro-Mao activist, defended Mao and rejected criticisms that he was 70% right 30% wrong, arguing views critical of Mao came from “traitors” to communism and China. Fan claimed opinions were changing to see Mao’s “right” part as underrated and “wrong” part exaggerated.

  • Figure like Wang Hui offered a more sophisticated leftist critique of China’s adoption of Western capitalism without the personalized attacks, but saw problems with relying wholly on a Western model and questioned China’s search for modernity only through a Western lens.

Here are the key points that connect the various elements in the passage:

  • Xi sees Maoists as a threat because they oppose further market reforms and speak to those resentful of inequality under reforms. They appeal to Mao’s legacy of a clean, ideologically pure party untainted by wealth.

  • Maintaining control of power and the party’s monopoly on power is important for political Maoists and a source of unity/strength for the party according to the third group of modern Maoists.

  • Figures like Bo Xilai were able to stir popular support by appealing to Maoist ideology, posing problems for Xi and necessitating extreme actions against Bo. Another high-level figure successfully appealing to Maoism would threaten Xi.

  • Establishing different types of relationships - emotional, rational, intellectual - helps politicians gain control, predictability and trust in an opaque political system without clear rules. This creates stability, certainty and bonds beyond just fear.

  • Family relationships are among the most dependable bonds for politicians but can also be most easily exploited. Trust is essential for transactions and stability in political systems as it is in financial systems.

So in summary, the key connection is that maintaining control, legitimacy and trust are important for Xi against threats like Maoists appealing to alternative models of governance, and different types of relationships help achieve these goals in China’s opaque political environment.

The Third Plenum in 2013 under Xi Jinping was seen as an important opportunity to lay out a new political program and direction, similar to the significance of the Third Plenum in 1978 under Deng Xiaoping which launched economic reforms. Xi sought to use the Third Plenum to gain momentum and mandate for a “Chinese reform 2.0”. Reform was still seen as necessary to continue developing China, socialism, and Marxism. The Third Plenum statement after the conclusion emphasized that only socialism can save China and only reform and opening up can develop China. Xi aimed to sound a similar tone as Deng in stressing the need for continued reforms, though doing so through the language and mechanisms of Party reporting rather than dramatic proclamations. The 2013 Third Plenum under Xi was an attempt to strategically signal new priorities and guide the political direction, in keeping with China’s tradition of using such Party meetings for such purposes.

  • The passage discusses China’s economic reforms and transition to a more market-based economy since 1978. It analyzes the changing role and views of the market in China.

  • In the Mao era, the state controlled nearly all economic activity. Marketization began in 1978 but the state still maintained significant control and intervention in strategic industries. By the 2000s, the non-state sector was a key driver of growth.

  • The Third Plenum in 2013 marked a major shift, declaring the market as essential rather than just preferential for growth. This established a new relationship where the government’s main role is maintaining macroeconomic stability while ensuring fair competition and intervening only in cases of market failure.

  • A key goal of reforms is to address inefficiencies in state-owned enterprises (SOEs) which have become dominated by networks exploiting them for personal profit. The reforms aim to develop a “mixed ownership” model and improve governance and professional management of state assets.

  • In summary, the passage examines China’s gradual but significant embrace of market principles and ongoing efforts to reform the role of SOEs and strengthen the role of the private sector in the economy under Xi’s leadership.

  • Taxation gives the government power and is necessary for modernization, but it also risks empowering citizens who will demand representation for their tax dollars.

  • In the past, Chinese received social benefits instead of high wages, but reforms have reduced those benefits while wages remain low due to investment priorities.

  • An informal cash economy prevents discontent over taxes, but the government wants to broaden the formal tax base. Chinese dislike taxes funding unaccountable officials.

  • Local governments rely on land sales and bank loans for revenue but those sources are dwindling as land is developed and debt rises. They are on the front lines implementing policies and face low approval.

  • Expanding social welfare puts more fiscal pressure on localities. Xi aims to increase central control over the tax system while giving localities reliable funding to address citizens’ demands for better wages and representation. But taxation risks empowering citizens politically.

  • China is undergoing a major shift from a rural to an urban country, as urbanization accelerates. Up to recently 80% lived in rural areas, but now around half live in cities.

  • This urbanization is happening extremely quickly, as China builds more cities faster than any other country in history. Over 260 cities now have over 1 million people. Megacities are forming as places like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou expand enormously.

  • The Chinese Communist Party sees urbanization and the rise of cities as key to developing a modern, consumer-driven economy. However, urbanizing over 70% of the population by 2030 poses immense social, political, and economic challenges that China has never faced before.

  • Cities like Shanghai have grown enormously but faced challenges integrating masses of new residents, finding them jobs, dealing with pollution and infrastructure stresses. Social problems like isolation and divorce are also rising.

  • For stability, China must also modernize rural areas and not abandon or impoverish the countryside. Balancing urban and rural development will be a major challenge for the government.

  • Xi has promised that the overwhelming majority of farmers can modernize and share in the fruits of modernization, but this will be a huge, decades-long task. China’s farmers still face challenges like the hukou system restricting mobility.

  • Urbanization brings environmental costs like pollution from increased energy/resource use. It also transforms social structures and trust networks.

  • The CCP promotes “democracy with Chinese characteristics” through bodies like the CPPCC and allowing some public input, but they retain final veto power. True democratic reforms are seen as too destabilizing.

  • Models like Taiwan and Singapore are seen as too small-scale to apply to China. There is no consensus on political reforms. Xi has so far resisted anything too radical and cracked down on dissent with documents like Number 9 restricting discussion of topics like Western democracy.

  • The legal system faces contradictions as Xi praises both Mao, associated with rule by man over law, and strengthening the legal basis of society. Reforms aim to make the legal system fairer and more respected but the CCP still directs major cases.

  • In the late 1970s, China began developing a set of laws, borrowing from Japanese and German legal systems. However, implementation has always been a challenge.

  • Recent reforms have focused on building confidence in the court system and improving the qualifications of judges and other personnel. This was a goal of the Third and Fourth Plenums.

  • Injustice undermines trust between the government and people. It is a source of inefficiency that erodes the bottom line. However, the Party maintains control over the courts and does not subject itself to their authority.

  • Reform aims to make the legal system more predictable for companies through “rule by law,” but political influence over high-profile cases shows the limits. The GSK case showed foreign companies remain vulnerable.

  • Ensuring justice is expensive as it requires funding courts, lawyers, and judges. Recent reforms focused on issues like reducing death sentences, increasing scrutiny of local courts, and improving access.

  • However, activism or criticism of the Party is still firmly suppressed, as shown by the imprisonment of rights lawyers like Xu Zhiyong, despite reforms emphasizing human rights and judicial transparency. Overall progress remains limited by political control of the legal system.

  • Corruption has long been a problem in China that the government has sought to address through various anti-corruption campaigns. However, corruption persists and finding an effective solution is challenging.

  • Xi Jinping has made fighting corruption a signature issue of his administration. He views corruption as undermining the CCP’s authority and goals of efficient governance. However, corruption is an elusive problem and officials have become adept at covering their tracks.

  • Xi has instituted the broadest anti-corruption campaign since 1978 through the Central Discipline Inspection Commission. High-level officials like Zhou Yongkang have been targeted in highly publicized investigations.

  • While popular with the public, Xi’s crackdown relies on fear and making examples of targets through random investigations. This has caused anxiety even among retired leaders. However, the Party prioritizes self-protection and will prevail over any individual in a conflict.

  • Corruption is perceived as a major issue in China according to surveys. Finding a balance between targeting corruption and maintaining stability remains an ongoing challenge for the CCP’s governance.

  • The Chinese government previously lacked a high-level body to coordinate national security issues and responses to crises like unrest in Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. Individual leaders like Hu Jintao had to personally oversee crisis management.

  • In 2013, Xi Jinping established China’s National Security Commission, which he chairs. This centralized national security powers under Xi’s control rather than dispersing them across different entities.

  • The commission is tasked with formulating national security strategy, legislation, and policies, as well as addressing key national security issues. Its establishment signaled the end of Zhou Yongkang’s previous role as security chief under Hu Jintao.

  • In 2013-2014, China saw a rise in various forms of protests reflecting different causes, from petitioners carrying out violent attacks to issues involving ethnic unrest. Notable incidents included car attacks in Beijing and knife attacks in Kunming linked to Xinjiang separatists.

  • The government responded to crises in Xinjiang like car bombings in Urumqi with high-level meetings but was unwilling to make radical policy changes or cede strategic territory to address underlying issues. Stability remains a top priority.

  • A prominent dissenter in China was detained in early 2014 while traveling to the US and later given a life sentence for terrorism. His family members also had their property seized, leaving them destitute.

  • The National Security Commission in China aims to identify main security threats and develop strategies to deal with them. However, security has become big business with huge budgets, economic interests, and influence for those involved. Removing banned issues reduces the roles and jobs of security personnel, while adding new bans does the opposite.

  • Twenty years ago, cybersecurity was not as important as it is now with vast resources dedicated to it. Security is highly political and requires balancing different stakeholder viewpoints and interests. Infighting between security agencies can also be a source of insecurity.

  • When assessing threats, the Chinese government cannot address everything while keeping everyone happy. It must prioritize. Getting its assessments wrong could allow problems to emerge that it cannot control, with major political impacts. By consolidating power himself, Xi can control outcomes rather than being helpless as events unfold. However, this carries the major risk that if a serious uprising occurs, the blame falls solely on him.

  • China views its diplomatic relationships through concentric circles centered around its core interests. The US is the top priority, followed by regional neighbors and trading partners in Europe. Relationships further away matter less due to geographic and geopolitical distance.

  • Domestically, reforms are the priority, but foreign affairs have to support China’s goals of reform, economic growth, and national rejuvenation. China is now too big to avoid international leadership, but does not seek it proactively.

  • Xi has less direct experience abroad compared to past leaders, but has extensively traveled internationally as president. He inherits difficult relationships with neighbors like India, and must balance nationalism at home with avoiding conflict.

  • Xi and his advisors have framed China’s key relationships through grand narratives - a new model with the US, civilizational partnership with Europe, and the Belt and Road Initiative connecting Asia, Europe, and Africa.

  • The US relationship is most important and complex, with cooperation but also underlying competition between political systems. Many in China see the US trying to spread its values and contain China’s rise through alliances in Asia-Pacific. It is a love-hate relationship balancing mutual interests and strategic rivalry.

The relationship between China and the US has been complex, with China seeking greater diplomatic space while avoiding confrontation. China maintained close ties to the sole superpower after Deng Xiaoping’s reforms, despite tensions like the 1999 embassy bombing in Belgrade. China saw opportunities to assert itself during US distractions like 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis.

However, China’s increased assertiveness backfired and left it feeling isolated without true allies. Its soft power efforts through investment, Confucius Institutes, and diplomacy failed to gain trust and respect internationally. This frustrated Chinese thinkers who wanted to provide a better social model than the US.

Xi Jinping’s challenge has been to gain more space for China while avoiding conflict with the powerful US. Sensitive issues involve Taiwan and Hong Kong, which China views as domestic but others see legitimate interests in. Protests in both places in 2014 underscored this ideological divide at China’s borders. The US was blamed for instigating unrest, though likely not credibly.

Taiwan and Hong Kong remain especially thorny given US legal commitments to Taiwan’s defense. Xi has promoted a vague “new model” of major power relations, giving the US status while seeking equality for China. But concrete progress depends on avoiding unwelcome US suspicion over sensitive regional issues.

  • The US-China relationship is complex, with both sides seeing each other as rival and partner. They cooperate on issues like climate change despite differences.

  • The EU plays the second most important role in China’s geopolitical worldview after the US. While less powerful than the US, the EU is a major trade partner and source of technology.

  • The EU-China relationship has become more complex over time, covering not just trade but political and strategic issues. This led to frustration in China as the EU pushed values issues like Tibet, Taiwan and human rights.

  • Xi Jinping sought to recast the relationship as one between “civilizational partners” during a 2014 visit to Brussels, emphasizing cooperation between major powers undergoing reform. This flattered the EU while acknowledging its internal difficulties, balancing Chinese criticism of EU attitudes.

  • Xi promoted a comprehensive strategic partnership to deepen cooperation between the world’s largest emerging economy and group of developed economies, which together represent a third of the global economy.

  • The Silk Road referred to diverse trade routes rather than a single road connecting China to Central Asia, the Middle East, and beyond. It promoted cultural exchange and opened up earlier Chinese dynasties to outside influences.

  • In the 21st century, China must maintain good relations with countries along its vast western border to secure energy supplies, ensure stability in Tibet and Xinjiang, and guard its borders. It formed the Shanghai Five grouping in 1996 and later the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to build ties in the region.

  • Central Asian countries want greater economic opportunities from linking with China. Since 1992, trade has increased 100-fold. China is now the largest trade partner for countries in the region due to huge investments in energy and infrastructure projects.

  • While relations appear positive, there are risks of instability from governance issues and possible unrest in Central Asian countries. China’s strategy diversifies energy supplies to avoid overreliance on any one partner.

  • Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative since 2013 aims to revive economic and cultural links along historical trade routes. It appeals to countries’ self-interest and hints at China’s long history of engagement in the region. The concept has traction globally as opportunities are sought to access Chinese investment.

  • China’s currency, the RMB, is not fully convertible, but it is gaining prominence internationally through hubs in London, Hong Kong, and Sydney. Hong Kong plays a key role as the frontline for RMB internationalization, with over 60% of Chinese outward investment going through Hong Kong.

  • Xi Jinping struggles to develop friendly rhetoric toward China’s closest neighbors like Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam, who are wary of China’s growing power and assertiveness over maritime borders and resource disputes. Relations are particularly tense with Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands.

  • Xi seems to have contempt for North Korea and its dependency on China. In contrast to his predecessors, he has not visited North Korea or met with Kim Jong-un.

  • Relations with African and Latin American countries are portrayed as more straightforward for China due to limited historical baggage and mutual economic interests.

  • The Middle East poses challenges as a testing ground for China’s neutral diplomacy, given its dependence on the region for oil imports. Increasing ties with Iran concern the U.S.

  • While some promote the idea of a “China model,” Chinese leaders stress China’s exceptional nature and emphasis pragmatic engagement with other countries based on mutual interests. Developing an appealing diplomatic rhetoric remains a challenge for Xi.

  • Bo from the Tang dynasty represented a culturally innovative and creative period in China’s history. China has a long history as an inventor and innovator.

  • Confucius Institutes were created to help promote China’s culture and history abroad. However, they have not always been effective and have led to some negative perceptions.

  • Will other countries come to understand and respect China’s culture more if it is linked to its great past dynasties? Will they see China as more of an ally than a threat? This depends a lot on how successful Xi Jinping is in promoting China’s soft power.

  • Xi takes promoting China’s image abroad very seriously, as shown by his visits to many countries. However, gaining international respect for Chinese culture depends on factors outside his control.

  • Chinese leaders have a longer time horizon than Western democratic leaders due to not facing elections. They aim for goals decades into the future through Five-Year Plans.

  • Current Chinese leaders still see achieving modernization and a “moderately prosperous society” as benchmarks over the next decades, continuing the framework set by Deng Xiaoping. But they provide few concrete details for how China will develop beyond 2020.

  • The main long-term vision Chinese leaders articulate is achieving a “rich, strong, powerful country.” But stability depends on managing four major risks - social, political, geopolitical, and economic. Maintaining stability is a top priority for Chinese leadership.

  • The CCP leadership sees itself as uniquely able to govern and modernize China due to its central role and uncontested power. However, it is aware that no communist party has lasted more than 74 years in power.

  • There is a recognized need for political reform, but no clear roadmap beyond party reforms. The future shape of China’s administrative and political systems remains uncertain.

  • Economically, continued growth is crucial for the party’s legitimacy but the era of double-digit growth is over. More sustainable and efficient growth is needed.

  • When looking externally, China is deeply integrated globally through trade, investment and geopolitics. Both opportunities and risks exist from developments abroad.

  • Four key sources provide insight into China’s vision: the World Bank/DRC’s “China 2030” report, the party’s official documents, a scholarly book on political reforms, and historical trends analyzed by international bodies.

  • Demographics, energy usage, GDP growth rates and the composition of the economy can be predicted with relative accuracy based on China’s recent history and current conditions. However, pandemics or policy changes could impact trajectories.

  • By 2035, China’s population will have aged but the impacts will be managed through policy reforms like relaxing the one-child policy and raising the retirement age. Environmental issues like pollution will have been addressed through a shift to renewable energy and more sustainable practices.

  • China will have become a high-income, high-consumption society with a large urban middle class. Its economy will be dominated by the service sector rather than manufacturing. Marketization will have continued so most businesses will be private rather than state-owned.

  • Inequality will be reduced through redistributive policies and development of western regions. China will play a leading regional and global economic role through trade agreements and outward foreign investment.

  • The government will maintain control over politics but grant more regional autonomy and civil rights. The legal system will be more developed and predictable for business. Corruption will be reduced.

  • Significant improvements will be seen in areas like education, healthcare, rural development, technology innovation and sustainable energy to support China’s transition to a “modern, harmonious, creative and high-income society.”

  • Xi Jinping has consolidated power and established himself as the undisputed leader of China since becoming head of the CCP in 2012. However, his rise to the top was not entirely expected or based on obvious leadership skills as a provincial leader.

  • Some analysts draw parallels between Xi and leaders who take charge of organizations facing crises of legitimacy and loss of mission/values, like Pope Francis did with the Catholic Church. Both are trying to reform bureaucracies that grew detached from their core constituencies.

  • Xi explicitly criticized “corruption, being divorced from the people, and being satisfied with going through formalities and bureaucracy” when he took over, similar to Pope Francis’ criticisms of the Catholic leadership.

  • One writer depicted Xi similarly to a godfather leading a Mafia clan. Having been sent down to rural China during the Cultural Revolution, Xi and his generation lack real understanding or sympathy for democracy. Xi consolidated power through force of will and cultivating patronage networks rather than democratic leadership abilities.

  • In summary, while Xi has established strong authority, questions remain about the roots of his power and whether his leadership style can successfully reforms the issues facing the CCP and maintain its legitimacy over the long run. Some parallels are drawn to other authoritarian institutional leaders seeking to reform while holding onto power.

  • The passage discusses Xi Jinping’s background and formative years, noting he was sent down to rural Yan’an during the Cultural Revolution when his father fell out of favor politically. This period shaped Xi’s worldview and commitment to Maoism.

  • It suggests Xi may try to reinforce his position as leader by any means necessary, having experienced an insecure childhood due to his father’s political issues. However, his relationship with Mao was also conflicted due to his father.

  • Rather than portraying Xi as a strongman or new Mao, the best way to understand him is through the lens of his role as General Secretary of the Communist Party. He derives his power from the Party and is constrained by it.

  • The Party’s power lies not just in its organization but in its ideology and the link between that ideology and its goal of achieving a strong, prosperous China. This ideological link is the greatest source of power for Xi.

  • Xi personifies the Party’s ambition and goals. Looking at Xi separate from the Party context misses the point, as he has no existence or autonomy outside of the Party. His role is to steer and direct the Party towards achieving its objectives.

So in summary, the passage analyzes Xi’s background but argues his power should be understood through his position within and relationship to the dominant Communist Party of China, not as an independent strongman figure. Ideology and the Party’s goals are emphasized as the true source of power.

Here is a summary of the provided sources:

1-2 describe Xi Jinping’s early life and education, including being sent to rural Shaanxi province during the Cultural Revolution for “re-education” through labor from 1969-1975.

3-4 are from Xi Jinping’s official biography published in China, covering details about his upbringing and family as well as his time during the Cultural Revolution.

5 provides context about the “rustication” of educated urban youth during the Cultural Revolution period from 1968-1980.

6 refers to Xi’s own brief recollection from 1998 about his experiences and feelings during this time in Shaanxi province.

7-8 discuss the situation at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, where Xi studied, during the Cultural Revolution, including the activities of the Red Guards movement.

9 was left incomplete, so no summary is provided for that source.

  • Relationships in China are fluid and difficult to definitively plot out, so any analysis of Xi’s connections needs to be done cautiously.

  • Xi’s family connections, like his sister and mother, have been important in influencing his business practices and views.

  • Wang Qishan, a trusted ally and head of the anti-corruption campaign, is one of Xi’s most important advisers.

  • Other long-time advisers and allies mentioned include Yu Zhengsheng, Ding Xuexiang (Xi’s chief secretary), Liu He (economic advisor), and Xiang Jiangyu (commentator who analyzes Xi’s groups).

  • Xi has also leaned on “princeling” elites who come from revolutionary communist pedigrees as well as other elite bureaucrats from different factions.

  • Understanding Xi’s inner circle and who has his ear provides insights into his priorities and leadership style. Relationships are fluid but some individuals like Wang Qishan seem to have had notable and lasting influence.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

The text contains references to various sources discussing Xi Jinping’s political views and China’s position in the world. It references works by scholars like Henry Kissinger, Wang Hui, and Yan Xuetong analyzing Chinese strategic thought. It also references statements by Xi Jinping from his book “The Governance of China” outlining his views on governance and reforms in China. The text analyzes Xi’s emphasis on strengthening state-owned enterprises, continuing economic reforms, addressing social inequality, and stepping up anti-corruption efforts. It discusses his views on national security, stability maintenance, and expanding China’s global influence while maintaining independence. The references provided give context to understand Xi’s political program and how he sees China’s role in the international system based on interpretations of traditional Chinese strategic thinking.

Here are the summaries of the sources provided:

  1. Article from Xinhua published on 10 June 2015 discussing Hong Kong issues.

  2. Article from The Diplomat from October 2014 claiming China said the US was behind Hong Kong protests.

  3. Article from the South China Morning Post from September 2014 where Xi Jinping reaffirmed the “one country, two systems” approach for Taiwan.

  4. Remarks from a 2013 meeting between Obama and Xi Jinping where they discussed the US-China relationship.

  5. 1998 Newsweek article by Bill Clinton about his upcoming trip to China.

  6. China’s 2014 policy paper on strengthening relations with the EU.

  7. Xi Jinping’s 2014 speech at the College of Europe on China-EU relations.

  8. Books and articles discussing China’s relationship with Pakistan and history with Russia/Soviet Union.

  9. Autobiography of a former North Korean official describing his escape from North Korea.

  10. Books from the 2000s arguing China presents an alternative development model to the West.

  11. Chapter from a 2009 book on how cultures of fear, humiliation and hope are reshaping geopolitics.

  12. Article on China’s demands relating to Taiwan at a conference in Portugal in 2014.

Here is a summary of reference 001:

Li Taohua and Hu Lili, Xi Jinping dazhuan [Biography of Xi Jinping] (Deer Park, NY: Mirror Books, 2013).

This reference is a biography of Xi Jinping published in Chinese in 2013 by Li Taohua and Hu Lili. It was published in Deer Park, NY by Mirror Books.

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About Matheus Puppe