China’s meteoric rise over the decades has been inevitable. It is but appropriate to say that vision of individual leaders has led to this glorified modernization. The leader who has been synonymous to transformation in China was none other than Deng Xiaoping and his reform and radical approach has led China’s growth and prosperity. Today Xi Jinping, President of China is seen as yet another powerful leader after Deng.
Xi in his early years of leadership acquired the reputation of being a practical person (Manoranjan Mohanty 2013) and seen as a reformer. His initial stint has been very euphoric both in China and abroad. As Xi tries to consolidate his power, he is extremely cautious and very concerned about his image and reputation. Xi unfolds his dreams and ambition of rejuvenating China and is seen in line with Deng Xiaoping. While China’s neighbors see Xi as more assertive when it comes to the dispute over South and East China sea.
Consolidating power has been very critical of Xi Jinping’s leadership. As Xi holds the top posts in the party, state and military and has maneuvered to put himself at the top of the new super ministerial bodies. This would give Xi a complete authority and final say in most of the matters.
Several of Xi admirers call him pragmatic and see him as a man with mission truly committed to change and growth. Xi himself seems to be truly ignited and charged with the principles of Deng Xiaoping of following the political legacy of’ socialism with Chinese characteristics. Committed to reform China on similar lines of Deng, Xi has emphasized on the Chinese charactersitcs and uniqueness of the Chinese system. Xi began his southern tour where Deng Xiaoping had started his reform. It would be appropriate to say that Xi is carrying Deng’s torch to reignite the nation.
Despite socio,political, economic and environmental reforms that are underway severe pressure mounts the leadership. Xi faces challenges in terms of a wobbly market and the ability to maintain steady growth . Xi and his colleagues are very concerned about the mounting economic challenges. Yet another area of concern is growing demographic divide, with increasing elderly people remain a major concern for China’s society. Xi faces several challenges in the domestic front and he is keen to stabilize the situation. To this effect Xi has unveiled several programs and has undertaken severe austerity measures in addressing corruption.
With surmounting pressure and challenges, Xi has committed to restoring the lost vigor. What would Xi want be known as a reformer or caretaker. Would Xi want to be identified as Deng style reformer or create an identity for himself is something that has to be watched.
Pray Suresh is a Research Scholar at the Takshashila Institute. She tweets @priyamanassa.