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Xi Jinping’s succession planning crisis

March 02, 2021 00:00 AM UTC
- Updated May 20, 2021 16:57 PM UTC

Lowy Institute’s Richard McGregor on why the Chinese leader must designate an heir.

Transcript
Ah, we're coming into the next five year plan here with the two meetings, uh, an important gathering for the party. Are you suggesting that that she is actually sort of vindicated at this moment, and and that his his puffer style? Maybe, uh, is, uh, he can say that it's justice. Well, they're certainly settling in for the contest. You know, you look at what the five year plan is going to have elaborate on, you know, the so called dual circulation or self reliance policy, you know there. And that's too. So they rely less on the U. S. And they're more secure and the like. You know, this year we've also got the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party's. So that's going to solidify the party's narrative about what it plans for Chinese China's future and how successful they've been in recent decades. It's also going to elevate Xi Jinping further into the pantheon of China's great leaders. Two things have happened. It's impossible to organize against C because he has complete control of security services. Anybody puts their head up against him, you know, they have taken out pretty quickly, and we've had a few big examples of that. Secondly, I think now that China has emerged more strongly out of covid, whereas the US has emerged a weaker power. But the U. S and China are locked pretty explicitly in this contest now that naturally produces in any system to kind of rally around the flag or, in China's case, a rally around the party type moment. So he looks pretty strong. Now. I'll just finish on that point with one qualification. We've got the next party Congress once every five years. At the end of next year, 2022 he still has not managed the succession issue that won't go away, and if he doesn't manage it in some way by promoting a number of people who might take over in five or 10 years, if he doesn't start to being bring people through the system, that's going to be a big problem for China. I think we will have one day or another a succession crisis. We don't know when, but that's dangerous, uh, in any politics, but in Chinese politics in particular, so she has done had a pretty good last 12 months. It doesn't guarantee that kind of performance goes on forever.