The fate of the People’s Republic of China as a political project is increasingly dependent on one man – Xi Jinping. Already known informally as “the chairman of everything,” the sixth plenum of the 18th Party Congress recently declared him the “core” of the Communist Party of China (CPC) leadership. Rumors abound that he now intends to violate the party’s own norms of leadership selection at next year’s Party Congress by changing the retirement age in the Politburo Standing Committee and neglecting to name a successor.
Recognizing the extent of Xi’s ambitions, scholars have attempted to better understand his prospects by comparing and contrasting him with a whole swathe of other leaders, including Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping,Chiang Kai-shek, Vladimir Putin, and even the pope. However, in terms of his ambitions, strengths, and weaknesses, Xi most obviously resembles the former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev. Read more