In January 2016, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China—a position that outranks his commonly used job title of president—made an important speech assessing the global situation. China, in his view, was faced with “three unprecedented situations” and “three dangers”. On the opportunity side of the ledger, it was “closer than ever before to being the centre of the world stage”, he said; “It is closer to achieving its goals; and it now has the ability and the self-confidence to achieve its objectives.” The dangers he spoke of were external aggression and internal division, an economic slowdown and political challenges to the party’s supremacy.
This is part 1 of a 3-part series of essays for Livemint. You can read the entire series at