A Strong Leader for A Time of Crisis: Xi Jinping’s Strongman Politics as A Collective Response to Regime Weakness

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Abstract

Seeking to explain the reasons for the swift shift from collective leadership to strongman rule during Xi Jinping’s early years in office, this article argues that it was the result of a widely shared consensus among China’s ruling elite that the regime was facing a severe crisis that necessitated a return to such rule. This argument challenges the widely held view that the dramatic centralization of power in Xi’s hands was the result mainly of his individual personality, motives, and actions. While many of the factual details that this article presents are not new, it is the first to systematically integrate many of these facts to create a coherent explanation of China’s surprising abandonment of the collective leadership model that goes beyond Xi’s individual role.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)249-265
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Contemporary China
Volume30
Issue number128
Early online date13 Jul 2020
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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