Is China’s Repressive Turn Under Xi a Sign of Strength—or Weakness?

Is China’s Repressive Turn Under Xi a Sign of Strength—or Weakness?
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, June 5, 2019 (AP photo by Evgenia Novozhenina).

Oct. 1 will mark 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. But even as they make plans to celebrate the country’s anniversary, Communist Party leaders face several big challenges: ongoing pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, an economic slowdown that is being exacerbated by a damaging trade war with the United States, and mounting international criticism over its abhorrent human rights record.

Will officials in Beijing, starting with President Xi Jinping, make any efforts to change the country’s political, economic or human rights-related trajectories? And what other domestic and external challenges will affect China’s developmental path? For this week’s interview on Trend Lines, WPR’s Elliot Waldman discusses these questions with David Shambaugh, the Gaston Sigur Professor of Asian Studies, Political Science and International Affairs at the George Washington University. He is the author of many books, including most recently “China’s Future.”

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Relevant Articles on WPR:
How a Crackdown in Hong Kong Would Reverberate, From Shanghai to Taiwan
The Next Stage of the U.S.-China Trade War Will Be Much Worse
China’s Latest Attempt to Spin Its Repressive Policies in Xinjiang Falls Flat
Why a Cold War With China Would Be So Costly

Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

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