China has no plan for who will succeed Xi Jinping

Since becoming paramount leader in 2012, Xi Jinping has overseen enormous economic growth and solidified China’s standing as an economic and geopolitical superpower. He has also centralized his power over domestic politics. In 2018, Xi oversaw the repeal of the two-term limit on holding presidential office, which has opened a path for him to stay in power after 2023.

Xi is arguably the most powerful leader of China since Deng Xiaoping, the architect of the economic reforms that transformed China from a poor agrarian nation into a major economic powerhouse. Before Xi became the leader, the Chinese Communist Party had a system in place for the peaceful transfer of power. This system was, for the most part, adhered to by Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, the two leaders who preceded Xi in office.

In the past, a lack of faith in a succession plan for the peaceful transition of power has led to dissension within the ruling party, domestic political interference by the Chinese military and tendencies toward a greater centralization of power by Chinese leaders.

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