Balance of Power: Xi's Risky Gamble To Reshape China

China's Top Political Body Shows No Clear Successor

Xi Jinping emerged from China’s big political reshuffle with more power than any leader in decades. Now will he use it?

Xi brought the Communist Party’s twice-a-decade congress to a triumphant end, unveiling a leadership bench made up of proven allies and lacking a clear heir. Crucially, Xi got his name and his ideology written into the party charter alongside Mao Zedong, acquiring a status that could see him holding sway over China well beyond the end of his term in 2022.

The consolidation of power in the hands of one man is a departure from the collective leadership that steered China through decades of unparalleled economic growth.

Xi wants China to be a great power, projecting clout across the globe. At home, he’s promised greater equality and a thriving middle class.

That ambitious vision carries risks. Many investors have grown frustrated with the pace of economic reforms over the past five years. Capital controls and other investment barriers remain, while debt soars.

Now more than ever, the future of 1.4 billion people depends on one man. If Xi doesn’t succeed, China won’t.

General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping. 
Photographer: Feng Li/Getty Images AsiaPac

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