China’s Coronavirus Outbreak Exposes the Limits of Xi’s Centralized Power

People wearing masks attend a vigil for Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, in Hong Kong, Feb. 7, 2020 (AP photo by Kin Cheung).
People wearing masks attend a vigil for Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, in Hong Kong, Feb. 7, 2020 (AP photo by Kin Cheung).
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Within weeks of taking power in late 2012, Xi Jinping reportedly began giving versions of a closed-door speech in which he urged members of the Chinese Communist Party to reflect on the causes of the Soviet Union’s collapse, 21 years earlier. The purpose was unmistakably cautionary, and Xi, whom many observers then still believed might lead China as a liberalizing reformer, brought his own theory to the case: “Why did the Soviet Communist Party lose its power?” Xi asked, according to Francois Bougon in his book, “Inside the Mind of Xi Jinping.” “One of the main reasons is that the […]

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