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Political Science General

Xi Jinping

Political Career, Governance, and Leadership, 1953-2018

by (author) Alfred L. Chan

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2022
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2022
    List Price

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Xi Jinping has proven to be one of the most transformative political leaders of the twenty-first century. After a long career that began at the village level, he became General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and China's paramount leader in 2012. Few expected what would come next: a sweeping restructuring of China's political economy and political culture which included anti-corruption campaigns against the Party, and a full recalibration of China's relations with the outside world. In Xi Jinping, Alfred L. Chan offers a comprehensive account of his life and times.

Chan discusses Xi's early years as a "princeling" and his ordeal during the tumultuous Cultural Revolution. Xi's privileged childhood was shattered during his youth when he was mercilessly tormented as a counter-revolutionary, declared a juvenile delinquent and pauper, ultimately becoming an ordinary peasant. But he clawed his way back up a ladder of success reflecting the changing zeitgeist of the times. He entered politics at age seventeen and accumulated administrative experiences at the county and provincial levels. Chan documents Xi's long path upward through the system, revealing how he built a reputation as an astute leader and a corruption fighter.

The second half of the book focuses on the post-2012 period, and Chan pays particular attention to the context surrounding Xi's governance once he consolidated power. He makes clear that Xi's core guiding principle has been Leninism, which prioritizes disciplined party rule above all else. Throughout, Chan applies a range of social scientific theories drawn from comparative politics, international relations theory, public policy, and theories of governance to explain policymaking during an era of turbulent changes. Sweeping in scope and addressing virtually every aspect of Xi's life, this study will be essential for anyone seeking to understand not just Xi himself, but the overlapping global and domestic political contexts that shaped his career and style of rule.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Alfred L. Chan is a Professor Emeritus at Huron University College, Western University, and a Research Associate with the Asian Institute at the Munk Centre for Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto. A political scientist and a China expert, he has taught at Carleton University, McGill University, and Calgary University. He has published in leading international journals on China such as The China Quarterly, The China Journal, Studies on Contemporary China, and Pacific Affairs. He is also the author of Mao's Crusade.

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