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China's Chilling Future | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Xi Jinping shaping China's chilling future

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here. A Quick Take to kick off your week. All sorts of things going on, but I want to focus on China because that is the most world-changing of the issues that are on our plate right now. Xi Jinping, breaking through term limits, securing for himself, not surprisingly, a third term as General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party. He is today, without question, the most powerful human being on the planet. And that should concern us in the sense that the system is incredibly opaque.

There are increasingly not effective checks and balances on his authority. It is also not aligned with the future that so many in the world are hoping for when it comes to the way that political and economic systems should function - rule of law, transparency, human rights. And I'm not suggesting that the United States has always been a shining example of all of those things, but certainly, you don't have the level of concentration of power in the US or any democracy that you presently have in authoritarian regimes, and particularly right now in China.

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Image of Xi Jinping in the background of a performance during the 100th anniversary of China's Communist Party in Beijing.

Koki Kataoka / The Yomiuri Shimbun via Reuters Connect

What makes Xi Jinping tick?

Later this week, Xi Jinping will get a precedent-shattering third term as secretary-general of China's ruling Communist Party. He's the most influential CCP leader since Deng Xiaoping and has elevated himself to the same stature as Mao Zedong. Xi now has virtually unfettered power in the world's most populous country and second-largest economy.

Yet, we know surprisingly little about him. China’s leader is not on social media, gives few interviews, and his bland public statements and carefully curated official biography offer few clues about what’s on his mind. Although Chinese kids study Xi Jinping Thought, he remains a black box for anyone outside of the CCP elite and those who know him personally.

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President Richard Nixon Shaking Hands with Chairman Mao Tse-tung in Zhongnanhai, Beijing.

US National Archives

Quiz: Nixon goes to China

February 21 is the 50th anniversary of Richard Nixon's historic visit to China, which began the normalization of US relations with the world's most populous Communist state — instantly shifting the Cold War balance of power. This bold move by a US president who had made his political reputation as an anti-Communist crusader shocked many at the time, but it helped set the stage for deeper ties between what are now the world's two most powerful nations and largest economies.

How well do you know the details of Nixon's week-long trip? Take our quiz to find out.

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PLA soldiers are seen before a giant screen as Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the military parade marking the 70th founding anniversary of People's Republic of China, on its National Day in Beijing, China October 1, 2019.

REUTERS/Jason Lee

Xi Jinping goes full 1984

"Who controls the past, controls the future; who controls the present, controls the past."

That slogan laid out the Party's sinister ploy to entrench itself in power by rewriting history in George Orwell's classic novel 1984. And it's what the ruling Communist Party now wants to do in China, where "Big Brother" Xi Jinping already oversees an authoritarian techno-surveillance state that in many ways exceeds the intrusion of Orwell's dystopian future.

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