Xi Jinping Begins His 11th Year as China’s President Amid Rising Tensions with the US and EU
Xi Jinping has been officially appointed for a third term as China’s president, marking his 11th year in the job. Although the presidency is largely a ceremonial position, Xi is the most powerful person in China, having been reaffirmed as the head of the Chinese Communist Party and the military last year. With the lifting of strict COVID-19 measures, Xi appears to face little opposition at home. However, overseas relations with the United States continue to deteriorate, and tensions persist with the European Union over Russia and Ukraine. What impact will Xi’s unchallenged leadership have for China and the rest of the world?
In a recent episode of Inside Story, presenter Adrian Finighan discussed this topic with three experts: Andy Mok, senior research fellow at the Center for China and Globalization; Shirley Yu, senior fellow with the Ash Center at Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government; and Adrian Geiges, co-author of Xi Jinping: The Most Powerful Man in the World.
Andy Mok believes that Xi’s leadership has been critical in China’s response to COVID-19. He notes that China was able to control the virus quickly and effectively due to its strong centralized government and Xi’s leadership. Mok also points out that Xi has been successful in promoting China’s economic growth and technological development.
However, Mok acknowledges that China’s relations with the US have deteriorated significantly under Xi’s leadership. He attributes this to a lack of understanding between the two countries and a failure to communicate effectively. Mok believes that both countries need to work together to find common ground and address their differences.
Shirley Yu agrees that Xi has been successful in promoting China’s economic growth and technological development. She notes that China has become a global leader in areas such as artificial intelligence and 5G technology. However, Yu also acknowledges that there are concerns about China’s human rights record and its treatment of ethnic minorities such as the Uighurs.
Yu believes that Xi’s leadership style is characterized by a strong emphasis on centralization and control. She notes that this has led to a crackdown on dissent and a tightening of control over civil society. Yu argues that this approach may be effective in the short term, but it could lead to long-term problems if it stifles innovation and creativity.
Adrian Geiges provides a historical perspective on Xi’s leadership, noting that he has been compared to Mao Zedong in terms of his centralization of power. Geiges argues that Xi’s leadership style is a departure from the more collective leadership approach of his predecessors. He notes that Xi has consolidated power in a way that gives him significant control over all aspects of Chinese society.
Geiges also discusses the impact of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign, which has targeted both high-level officials and ordinary citizens. He notes that while the campaign has been popular among many Chinese people, it has also led to concerns about due process and rule of law.
Overall, the experts agree that Xi’s unchallenged leadership will have significant implications for China and the rest of the world. While his strong centralization of power has led to successes in areas such as economic growth and technological development, it has also raised concerns about human rights and stifling of dissent. Additionally, tensions with the US and EU continue to escalate, highlighting the need for effective communication and cooperation between countries. As Xi begins his third term as president, it remains to be seen how his leadership will shape China’s future and its role on the global stage.