IS XI JINPING CHINA’S NEW EMPEROR




Hassam Hameed-TDO-26.10.2017- “Xi Jinping Thought” has been incorporated with unanimous vote at the end of 19th Communist party congress. There is no clear potential successor appointed in the new Politburo standing committee, which has given space to rumours, that Xi Jinping is planning to stay longer than 2022.

Mr Xi has firmed his grip over the party since he became leader in 2012. He has pledged for the ‘New era’ for China in global affairs and so for its domestic affairs. In a brief address to more than 2,200 delegates, Xi said: “Today we, more than 1.3bn Chinese people, live in jubilation and dignity. Our land ... radiates with enormous dynamism. Our Chinese civilisation shines with lasting splendour and glamour.” He mentions that a lot has been achieved but he needs more time. Socialism with Chinese characteristics are Xi’s thoughts and has been written down in the party charter, which also indirectly implies that it cannot be criticized as it would go against the state’s ideology. Mr. Xi is the second person to have his thought be incorporated in the constitution, first being Mao Zedong, during his lifetime. Deng Xiaoping also had this honour of incorporating his ideology in the party charter for ‘Economic opening’ but it was only after his death. But his approach with tackling corruption has faced global criticism, which has had more than a million officials disciplined. In other countries his harsh campaign against corruption, cracking down on even restrained criticism would be faced with harsh reproach and be labelled as dictatorship. But in China Mr. Xi’s approach has not just been praised but has been compared to the fulfillment of the ‘Chinese dream’.

Moreover, according to some analysts, this dream is on the verge of becoming a nightmare. GDP growth is fueled by rising debt and property bubbles. The income inequality is also one of the highest in the world. But some analysts suggest that there is not much to worry about and most of the worries have been exaggerated. China will add $1 trillion to its nominal GDP, giving it a $12 trillion economy by the year end. $1 trillion is larger than the GDP of Indonesia or Turkey. Private consumption in China is 39.2% of GDP which has increased from 35.5% since 2010. This increased increment amounts to $2.58 trillion which is more than entire Indian economy. If Chinese private consumption continues growing with upward trajectory, by 2020 it would amount to 41.5% of the GDP, which means addition of another $2 trillion. Also the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is an ambitious plan of China to link the world with better infrastructure, which again will be very fruitful for China along with other 65 countries which also includes Russia and India.

It is yet too early to speculate what Xi Jinping’s next 5 years would be like and about his plans to last forever. Worry of the hour for global leaders is whether Xi be able to maintain global confidence intact to China and keep ‘growth trajectory slope’ motioned upwards.