The Guardian

Xi Jinping: what is behind the Chinese president’s power grab?

Xi wants to be his country’s ‘unrivalled helmsman’ but what does this mean for China and the rest of the world?
A woman walks past a poster of Chinese President Xi Jinping beside a street in Beijing on February 26, 2018. Xi Jinping's tightening grip on China had already earned the leader comparisons to Mao Zedong, but they came into even sharper focus after the party paved the way for him to assume the presidency indefinitely. / AFP PHOTO / GREG BAKER / Getty Images

What’s Xi up to?

By moving to abolish presidential term limits this week, Xi Jinping has obliterated any lingering doubts over his desire to remain China’s “unrivalled helmsman” for many years to come.

“Unless he’s deposed, we’ve got this guy for the rest of our functional lives,” predicts Orville Schell, who has been writing books on Chinese politics for more than four decades.

Why does Xi want to stay in power?

The obvious explanation is his apparent conviction that he, and only he, can” of global Chinese might. He seems determined to see that project through.

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