BEIJING/CHONGQING/SHANGHAI -- Xi Jinping will enter the Chinese Communist Party's national congress in Beijing on Oct. 18 as the country's most powerful leader in decades. When it is over, he hopes to emerge as the Mao Zedong of the 21st century.
In the five years since the last party congress, when he was named general secretary, Xi has greatly expanded the powers of his office. He has fortified his political position by ruthlessly deploying an "anti-corruption" campaign that has snared acquisitive billionaires, rival party members and local government officials. He has embraced the title of "supreme commander" to symbolize his control over the People's Liberation Army. He has sought more influence over the economy. And he has strengthened the state's stranglehold on the free flow of information.