This report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. In March 2018, the Chinese National People's Congress voted to abolish presidential term limits, paving the way for Chinese President Xi Jinping to rule the country indefinitely. This decision was but one part of a broader trend of power centralization taking place within the People's Republic of China. Driven by Xi's desire to centralize power in himself and in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), this trend has reversed the institutionalization of several rules and norms in Chinese politics, begging the question: How exactly was Xi able to overcome decades of momentum to bring about significant changes within the Chinese political system? In this thesis, I test two possible explanations for Xi's success. First, I examine the possibility that Xi leveraged a strong desire among many members of the CCP to restart political and economic reforms within the country in order to persuade the party to back his political changes. Second, I test the idea that Xi has paved the way for his changes in the political sphere by using his anti-corruption campaign to purge political opponents from the CCP and to silence others. Using the best available evidence, I conclude that the preponderance of evidence indicates that Xi utilized both these methods to strengthen his personal power and reverse the trend of institutionalization in the Chinese political system, but the changes Xi has brought to the Chinese political system could not have been possible without the support of the CCP as a whole.
This compilation includes a reproduction of the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.
In March of 2018, the People's Republic of China's National People's Congress (NPC) voted to abolish presidential term limits, removing the only legal, temporal limit on the People's Republic of China's (PRC) highest office thereby paving the way for current President Xi Jinping to rule the country indefinitely. The decision is reflective of a broader trend presently occurring within the Chinese socioeconomic and political spheres —the centralization of the power and the authority of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) within President Xi Jinping himself. Such a trend represents a clear break with the previous decades, during which Chinese leaders, starting with Deng Xiaoping, implemented a program of political and economic reform that dramatically changed the Chinese political-economic system. In the political sphere in particular, Deng and his successors oversaw the institutionalization of rules and norms meant to govern the burgeoning system of collective leadership. Collective leadership—"a system with a division of responsibilities among individual leaders in an effort to prevent arbitrary decision-making by a single top leader"— was Deng's political answer to the arbitrary, unpredictable, and personalistic rule of his predecessor, Mao Zedong. Hoping to prevent the uncertainty, chaos, and economic disaster that defined the worst of the Maoist period, Deng attempted to develop a system of governance that would prevent any one person from amassing such a large amount of political power.