Willy’s Corner

Peng Liyuan Rises Up the Ranks: Implications for Xi’s Despotic Rule

Executive Summary: Recent behavior by General Secretary Xi Jinping suggests a contradiction in his approach to leadership. While he has sacked protégés, suggesting a reckoning with past personnel decisions, he continues to prioritize personal connections and loyalty over competence. This centralization of power is exemplified... MORE

Xi Demands Fealty Despite Domestic And Foreign Woes

The Politburo held a “democratic life meeting (民主生活会)” on December 21–22, 2023, in which President Xi Jinping gave an internal, unpublished speech. According to accounts provided to the author by three officials at the rank of department head or above, Xi admitted that he had... MORE

Much Cause But Little Recourse For Popular Discontent

The last quarter of 2022 saw an outburst of Chinese people power. Citizens in as many as 28 cities, including Shanghai, Beijing, and Chongqing staged spontaneous protests on their campuses or out on the streets. The underlying cause was Beijing’s draconian lockdown measures, which led... MORE

Issues of Centralization, From Financial Work To Personnel

Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping called for tighter Party and state control of the financial sector in the quinquennial Central Financial Work Conference that ended in Beijing on October 31 (Xinhua, October 31). All seven Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) members as well... MORE

Xi’s Dilemma: The Risk of Waging War Against Taiwan

Chinese President Xi Jinping (习近平) faces a dilemma. Around a dozen of his protégés have been found to be so corrupt that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary and Commander-in-Chief is no longer sure of the efficacy of the PLA’s trump-card weapons (BBC Chinese,... MORE

Xi’s Personnel Mismanagement

Paramount leader Xi Jinping (习近平) has been widely blamed by foreign governments and media for failing to take effective measures to remedy an economy hurt by excessive leverage, weak exports, anemic consumer spending, and the massive withdrawal of investment by multinationals (Foreign Policy, September 6).... MORE

Coalitions of the Week: BRICS, ASEAN, the G20

Supreme leader Xi Jinping’s failure to attend the G20 summit in New Delhi this weekend (September 9-10) — thus nullifying the possibility of a meeting with top Western leaders including American counterpart President Joe Biden — is symptomatic of the isolation that China is facing... MORE