Chinese Politics in the Xi Jinping Era: Reassessing Collective Leadership

Tuesday, Feb 14, 2017
by chy

Mon, Apr 3, 2017, 4:30 pm

Chinese politics are at a crossroads as President Xi Jinping amasses personal power and tests the constraints of collective leadership.

In the years since he became general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in 2012, Xi Jinping has surprised many people in China and around the world with his bold anti-corruption campaign and his aggressive consolidation of power. Given these new developments, we must rethink how we analyze Chinese politics—an urgent task as China now has more influence on the global economy and regional security than at any other time in modern history.

Cheng Li is director of the John L. Thornton China Center and a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings. He is also a director of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. Li focuses on the transformation of political leaders, generational change and technological development in China.

Li grew up in Shanghai during the Cultural Revolution. In 1985 he came to the United States, where he received a master's in Asian studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a doctorate in political science from Princeton University. From 1993 to 1995, he worked in China as a fellow sponsored by the Institute of Current World Affairs in the U.S., observing grassroots changes in his native country. Based on this experience, he published a nationally acclaimed book, "Rediscovering China: Dynamics and Dilemmas of Reform" (1997).

Cheng Li also addresses the recruitment and composition of the political elite, a central concern in Chinese politics. China analysts will benefit from the meticulously detailed biographical information of the 376 members of the 18th Central Committee, including tables and charts detailing their family background, education, occupation, career patterns, and mentor-patron ties.