Preparing for Difficult Reforms, Chinese Party Leaders Consolidate Power

China’s Xi Jinping is the second leader of the People’s Republic of China to be designated “core” of party leadership. Deng Xiaoping “invented the title ‘core,’ bestowing it on Jiang Zemin, whom he chose as the party leader after the tumult of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989 and the downfall of General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, who had sympathized with protesting students,” explains journalist Frank Ching. Power consolidation, demonstrated by Xi’s new title, leaves no excuse for delaying needed reforms. The country’s challenges are many including an aging population and rising middle class with high expectations, slowing job growth and rising inequality, along with worries about corruption, growing debt and environmental degradation. Speculation abounds over Xi’s next steps as leaders prepare for the difficult task of expecting a billion people to accept reforms. Xi alone is in charge and, as Ching suggests, his title could serve as armor or target. – YaleGlobal