(A difference — Mao: a ruthless dictator who failed in his reforms; Xi: a skillful controller of Chinese politics)
President Xi Jinping and the new Congress members have been officially re-elected after the soundless 19th Chinese Communist Party National Conference proceeded Beijing.Besides all being unprecedentedly younger than 70, the seven members of the cabinet all majored in humanities or economics in college as opposed to the STEM-majoring members of the last term. Some hold a positive opinion of the new group of rulers, who signify a balanced, humane oligarchy that replaced the robotic Maoist monarchy in China.
Since his election in 2012, Xi is facing pressure from dissidents, who sought to consolidate power between Xi and his partners within the national party. In the last five years, Xi, along with his cabinet, made obvious improvements in the country. Political corruption has decreased, and infrastructure (including education, public transport, social security) has been improved and organized. Yet some complained Xi tightened his grip on freedom of speech, limiting opposition from outside and within the party. Regardless, the public holds a generally positive opinion of the president and his political performance.
Xi’s policies have earned him the reputation of a strong-willed international strategist determined to enhance China’s reliability and influence. Through the One Belt, One Road plan, Xi attempts to push “globalization and environmentalism” while circumventing the limitations posed by Trump’s Washington, both his main opponent and greatest trade partner. With the Pacific Ocean to the east locked down by U.S. allies, Beijing decided to look westward for more neutral, stable trade partnerships across Eurasia. Further, in the South China Sea, Xi expanded his military presence, building facilities on artificial islands and “staring down” disputing countries. Some Chinese citizens worried that a head-on military conflict might result between the unyielding Xi and impulsive Trump, who both insist on their freedom of navigation in the region.
Nevertheless, the citizens can put their hopes on the newest cabinet, or “politburo” in communist terminology. With PRC and the U.S. being great trade partners, a global economic impact would result from conflict. Hopefully, with professional knowledge and diplomatic skills, Xi and his new cabinet will make considerate choices and retain the valuable peace for the country.
After cleansing the political corruption, will Xi abuse his power to boost his own influence within the country’s political system, or will he use the opportunity to create a new political image for China? Time will tell.