The rise of China’s imperial president

Chinese President Xi Jinping has emerged as the Middle Kingdom’s most powerful strongman since paramount leader Deng Xiaoping.

In the two years following his ascension, Xi has further centralised political powers, muzzled dissidents and activists even more tightly, and pursued increasingly muscular foreign policy.

Xi has also purged political rivals with a bold anti-corruption campaign that has touched even the highest echelons of
the party.

Meanwhile, the ideological foundations of communist party rule have been reinforced. ‘Western values’ are attacked with new vigour and the one-party state is staunchly defended as the only answer to China’s mounting economic, social and environmental challenges.

Will Xi now push to amass more personal power, lay the foundations for another 65 years of Chinese Communist Party-rule, and aggressively assert China’s primacy in Asia?

This event explored the likely trajectory of a presidency that is set to shape not just China but the entire world.