‘Jinping’s personal power play risks undermining everything that China made exceptional’

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Washington: Chinese President Xi Jinping’s effort to boost his own power and prestige will have disastrous consequences for his country and the world, a top American foreign policy magazine said Monday.

“For decades, the country managed to avoid most problems suffered by dictatorships. Now Xi Jinping’s personal power play risks undermining everything that made China exceptional,” Jonathan Tepperman, editor-in-chief of the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine said in the latest issue of the magazine.

In a lengthy opinion piece, titled ‘China’s great leap backward’, Tepperman wrote that since assuming power in 2012, Xi has worked to dismantle China’s collective leadership system in several ways.

First, in the name of fighting corruption — an important goal and one China badly needs — he has purged a vast number of officials whose real crime, in Xi’s view, was failing to show sufficient loyalty to the paramount leader and replaced the incentive-based system with one based on fear.

“Not content to merely eliminate any competition, Xi has also consolidated his power by abandoning term limits, refusing to name a successor, and making himself ‘chairman of everything’,” the editor-in-chief wrote.

“If China’s economic problems spin out of control completely, the state could collapse — a typical occurrence among typical dictatorships when faced with economic shocks, external threats, or popular unrest,” he wrote and warned that in the case of worsening of economic problems, Xi could try to ratchet up tensions on the external front in order to distract his citizens from the crisis at home.

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