How Xi Jinping transformed China
In an exclusive interview with The Diplomat, China’s President Xi Jinping explains why he’s confident in the future and that “China underlies everything,” from the global economy to the region. Xi speaks candidly about the challenges and opportunities he sees in a fast-changing world, and how the challenges will drive a profound change into China’s future. His comments also offer insight into the role of China’s role in the new order in the world.
When President Xi began his speech on November 4, 2018, at the annual party Congress, he opened by noting that the “world in 2020 and beyond will be very different from the world before 2020. The future is in the making and today, the Chinese people, the Chinese State, and the Chinese people’s Party Central Committee have given their full support for the great leap forward.”
Xi’s confidence has not come easy. Ever since taking power a year earlier, he has faced a leadership transition in China. After Xi had served as vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, Xi’s predecessor, General Secretary Xi Jinping, was promoted to become party chief. In May 2017, Xi Jinping replaced Hu Jintao as president, and it was announced that, along with Hu, would also be stepping down from the State Council, the country’s top advisory body.
China’s leadership transition was also marked by an uncertain, unpredictable election in October 2018. In advance of the vote, Li Keqiang, the former premier, resigned as president and, after his ouster, Premier Li Haidong declared he will not seek the presidency. As a result, Hu Jintao, the previous president who was not only a former Prime Minister, but also a key architect of the global economy, will likely be appointed prime minister within a month.
Xi’s new responsibilities and the ensuing leadership transition has placed him at the intersection of three key developments and phenomena that have directly or indirectly impacted the world and China over the past ten years: the global economic crisis of 2008-2010; the financial crisis of 2007-2008; and the rise of China.
To put these events into perspective, we can begin by considering the challenges that China must contend with right now.
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