10 ways China has changed under Xi Jinping


BEIJING, Oct 27 (Reuters) – Xi Jinping walked out of the Communist Party’s 20th Congress with a third term at the helm of a precedent and a Politburo standing committee made up entirely of loyalists, cementing his place as China’s most powerful leader from Mao Zedong.

Under Xi’s decade in power, China has undergone profound changes, both domestically and in the global context.

Here are some of the ways China has changed under Xi.

1. Perceptions of China in the West and in US-allied countries have deteriorated

US-China relations have deteriorated sharply in recent years, a decline that has accelerated under former US President Donald Trump’s hawkish turn against Beijing. But Western perceptions have also been compounded by concerns over human rights as well as China’s growing aggression towards Taiwan.

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2. Xi’s campaign against corruption

Upon taking office, Xi launched a signature drive to root out corruption in the Communist Party, which has proven popular with the public and which many analysts say has also been a useful tool in weeding out opponents. policies.

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3. The taming of once unruly borderlands

The regions of Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong, all far from Beijing, have long created headaches for China’s ruling Communist Party.

Xi has launched unprecedented and sweeping security crackdowns that have brought the border regions under control.

In Xinjiang, this included the internment of an estimated one million minority Muslim Uyghurs in camps; in Hong Kong, Beijing responded to major anti-government protests in 2019 with a sweeping national security law.

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4. Raise the temperature in Taiwan

Every Chinese leader since Mao has stressed the importance of “reunifying” China with the self-governing island of Taiwan.

But tensions across the Taiwan Strait have risen sharply under Xi, with the People’s Liberation Army increasing its activities around the island in recent years, ranging from military exercises to increased incursions into the identification area of ​​the air defense of the island.

The August visit to Taipei by US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi prompted Chinese military exercises on an unprecedented scale.

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5. The state is increasingly taking economic leadership

Xi has tightened state control and direction over the economy, including a sweeping crackdown on the freest parts of the private sector, especially online platforms and for-profit education.

The crackdown on these sectors, along with the impact of ongoing COVID-19 related restrictions, has driven up urban unemployment and lowered consumer confidence.

Mood in the Chinese private sector

6. Slower growth, higher income

The era of double-digit annual growth ended before Xi came to power, and the growth rate declined, which was inevitable as the size of the economy increases.

Revenues have steadily increased under Xi.

A growing number of analysts are warning that China’s infrastructure-driven, investment-driven model is increasingly unsustainable, with another slowdown ahead.

China’s annual GDP growth
China’s GDP per capita

7. Crush dissent, expand censorship

Xi has suppressed domestic criticism and protests, eliminating space for dissent, while censorship inside China’s “Great Firewall” is steadily intensifying.

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8. The largest army in the world is growing, modernizing

The People’s Liberation Army, led by Xi, has closed the gap with the United States, including on the high seas, with major implications for tensions around Taiwan, as China strengthens its ability to seize of the island over what some US officials are warning. a shortened time.

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9. China leads in green technology and pollution

As China struggles to shed its dependence on coal, it has emerged as the world’s leading manufacturer of electric vehicles and has been hailed for its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060. More visibly, the quality of the he air in China has steadily improved over the past decade.

The average amount of particulate matter, a common measure of air pollution, has gradually declined in China since 2017, when Xi Jinping began his second term.
China’s coal production
Coal use has declined over the past decade.
Electric vehicles made in China since 2015.

10. Extreme poverty eliminated, inequalities persist

Xi describes the eradication of extreme poverty in China as one of the Communist Party’s main achievements of the past decade.

Inequality, however, has proven a more difficult challenge – particularly the urban-rural income gap – an issue Xi seeks to address with his “common prosperity” policy.

Official figures for China’s Gini coefficient show that despite a slight decline in recent years, it still has one of the highest income inequalities among major economies, along with the United States.

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In 2021, Xi Jinping declared victory over extreme poverty, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day.

Graphics by Anand Katakam; Reporting by Eduardo Baptista, David Stanway, Martin Pollard, Kevin Yao, Samuel Shen, Marius Zaharia, Beijing and Shanghai newsrooms; Written by Eduardo Baptista; Editing by Tony Munroe and Lincoln Feast

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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