Because President Xi Jinping has concentrated more power in his own hands than any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, many within China and around the world have concluded that he is politically unassailable. But the coronavirus epidemic has come at the worst possible time, laying bare the fundamental weaknesses of Xi’s rule.
ANN ARBOR – In contemporary China, profound political transformation can – and has – taken place in the absence of regime change or Western-style democratization. The starkest example is the period of “reform and opening” that began in 1978 under Deng Xiaoping’s charge. Although Deng rejected multiparty elections, he fundamentally changed the direction of the Communist Party of China (CPC), as well as the distribution of power within it.
The coronavirus epidemic that began in Wuhan in December 2019 may augur a similar historic turning point. The outbreak of what is now called COVID-19 represents more than just a passing moment of stress for the CPC. The world should be prepared for what could come next…
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