June 08, 2024

Inside the leadership of President Xi Jinping

Source: The Saturday Paper

Journalist: Richard McGregor

When Australian leaders meet Premier Li Qiang on his visit here in mid-June, they will be intently focused on what he has to say, especially as this is the first time a Chinese leader of his seniority has visited since 2017.

Ultimately, ministers and the bureaucracy will be listening to Li for any messages he is conveying from the very top. They have good reason to be paying attention.

“Xi has an agenda he wants to push forward but also has a theory about the party’s weaknesses that he has posed himself as the solution to,” says Jacob Stokes, of the Center for a New American Security in Washington. “So the prescription [to China’s problems], whatever way you frame it, tends to be – give Xi Jinping more power.”

Every speech of Xi’s, every statement, public appearance and overseas visit is carefully parsed by Chinese and foreigners alike in efforts to divine the direction of his administration. Some of Xi’s political life takes place in public, in his travels around the country and his interactions with foreign leaders. Often, however, key policymaking speeches are delivered internally and not released until months later, and even then sometimes in redacted form.

Read the full story and more from The Saturday Paper.


  • Jacob Stokes

    Senior Fellow, Indo-Pacific Security Program

    Jacob Stokes is a Senior Fellow for the Indo-Pacific Security Program at CNAS, where his work focuses on U.S.-China relations, Chinese foreign and military policy, East Asian ...