ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon Print

Mao's one-man rule offers uncomfortable lessons for Xi Jinping

Achieving strongman status could endanger China's global ambitions

| China
Concentration of power seldom brings a sense of security to the strongman, resulting in a constant purge of senior leaders and failure to correct policy errors.   © Reuters

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping emerged from the Chinese Communist Party's 19th congress as the country's most powerful leader in the post-Mao era, the biggest question is whether his unrivaled -- and unconstrained -- political authority will enable him to realize his ambitious vision of making China a global superpower by the middle of this century.

Despite the ongoing official propaganda blitz aimed to persuade the Chinese public that this lofty goal is within reach, success is by no means guaranteed. Among other things, Xi will need to radically restructure China's state-capitalist economy, reduce the country's soaring socioeconomic inequality, cope with deteriorating demographics, and overcome the dreaded middle-income trap (a feat no dictatorship has managed in history except in oil-rich petrostates).

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

Discover the all new Nikkei Asia app

  • Take your reading anywhere with offline reading functions
  • Never miss a story with breaking news alerts
  • Customize your reading experience

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more