Written by Hans H. Tung.
Xi Jinping’s first term since 2012 has dazzled many seasoned observers of Chinese politics. There were open trials of prominent political figures who used to be worshipped in China’s political pantheon. There was an anti-corruption campaign that swept across upper and lower echelons within the Chinese bureaucracy. There were also new social initiatives launched to engage newly emerging opinion leaders and tighten up the government’s control over the society. These new developments defy much of the conventional wisdom. Was it all because of, as some suggested, the leadership style of Xi Jinping that such a great transformation in Chinese politics could happen? Or, were there any more systematic and non-personal factors that could account for these changes? I believe that the answer should lie somewhere beyond the personal background and factors of Xi’s position, but in the institutional matrix of the Chinese authoritarian regime instead. Continue reading “Xi’s Remaking of China’s Political Landscape”