How Xi Jinping became the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong

  • Grace Tsoi and Sylvia Chang
  • BBC World Service

Xi Jinping
photo caption,

Xi Jinping, China’s current president, is expected to secure a third term this week, a historic feat in the country’s recent history.

Few predicted that Xi Jinping would become China’s most powerful leader in decades — he is now on the cusp of a historic third term.

A decade ago, little was known about Xi — other than the fact that he was a “red prince,” as the descendants of prominent and influential Communist officials are called.

His lineage helped him gain the support of the party’s seniors, which was crucial in his ascending to power within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), as these leaders often wielded political influence even after retirement.

“Before his rise, Xi Jinping was seen as someone who could make concessions to everyone,” says Joseph Fewsmith, an expert on elite Chinese politics at Boston University in the United States.

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