From Power Balancing to a Dominant Faction in Xi Jinping’s China
Eun Choi, John Wagner Givens, Andrew W. MacDonald “From Power Balancing to a Dominant Faction in Xi Jinping’s China” China Quarterly, Forthcoming
36 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2021
Date Written: January 29, 2021
Many China-watchers argue that Xi Jinping 习近平 has concentrated power in his own hands in a manner unprecedented since the death of Mao Zedong 毛泽东 and Deng Xiaoping 邓小平. This article tests the extent of Xi’s power consolidation by comparing the strength of his faction during his time in power to similar periods under his two immediate predecessors, Jiang Zemin 江泽民 and Hu Jintao 胡锦涛. Furthermore, we investigate whether a dominant faction is emerging under Xi Jinping, replacing the power balancing between factions that was the norm throughout the reform era. Analyzing factional affiliations of Chinese leaders in the top four ranks, we find that Xi has formed a dominant faction. Through statistical analysis of promotion chances of provincial leaders, we find that Xi has been unusually successful in promoting his clients as compared to previous leaders. This suggests that Xi has strengthened his faction by promoting provincial leaders to an extent unprecedented since the death of Mao and Deng.
Keywords: Elite Politics, Factions, Hu Jintao, Xi Jinping, China
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