This week, Xi Jinping will likely start his third term as secretary general of China’s communist party. He started off a decade ago as a safe bet for stability, says political analyst Ian Johnson, but then started to take over the whole show, at Yahoo/news.
Xi was considered a safe choice for leadership, a pair of safe hands to steady a ship that continued to suffer the turbulent stresses of modernization. “He was brought in to do a job,” said Ian Johnson of the Council on Foreign Relations, referring to Xi’s anticorruption drives that epitomized his first years as China’s top official.
Instead, Xi has indelibly changed the party and the country, including escalating tensions with democratic countries and building a Mao-like cult of personality that had been carefully discouraged among his predecessors. As Johnson put it, “It’s like if you bring in someone to fix a problem, and before you know it they are running the whole show and have kicked you out.”
“I don’t know if they bargained for all of this. He came in and, under the guise of anti-corruption, he arrested all of his enemies, he busted the factions, and he broke the system that was put in place before him,” Johnson added.
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