Op-Ed: In China, Xi Jinping is getting an unprecedented third term. What should the world expect?
“Xi Jinping is getting an unprecedented three-peat,” says James Leibold, director of the University of Chicago China Global Perspectives Initiative and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. In the run-up to China’s national election in the summer of 2017, Leibold argued in a Foreign Policy article that Xi Jinping would be China’s first president to have been in power for three consecutive terms. The article is being republished today in the online journal of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).
Xi Jinping’s leadership has, of course, been marked by many successes, some of them major (one-child policy, reform of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission). Yet, his third term also presents the unique challenge of confronting the U.S. government’s opposition to China’s continued modernization, even as that process is already reaching new milestones. The first term witnessed the emergence of the world’s fastest growing economy and a more than tenfold increase in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Yet, Xi’s second term came to a screeching halt when the world’s largest economy, the United States, decided in 2015 to halt investments in China. And China’s third term now faces the prospect of a similar American-led retrenchment, as President Donald Trump has said that he will place a 25 percent tariff on all imports from China by Oct. 15, 2017 — a move that could threaten the global financial system.
In China, Xi Jinping is getting an unprecedented third term. But, if Xi is re-elected, what should the world expect?
First, the world should be paying close attention to the country’s “Xi Jinping Thought.” In an essay Xi wrote to the nation in 2013, he laid out four goals for China and warned that, in the absence of a new set of goals, a return to the “centrifugal forces” of �