Ep.28 Douglas Paal: “Two Sessions 2023” and Consolidation of Xi Jinping’s One-Man Rule
Interview | March 17, 2023
Douglas H. Paal
Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP)
Dr. Douglas H. Paal, a Distinguished Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, shares his assessments of the outcome and the implications of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the 14th National People’s Congress (NPC). In this first part of the Global NK interview, Dr. Paal argues that while the internal discipline within the party enhances the power of Xi Jinping, his one-man rule is a step backward for China and is bound to face troubles due to its innate inefficiency.
Xi Jinping’s One-Man Rule Bound to Bring Trouble
• The “internal discipline” within the Communist Party of China, which include meritocratic promotions, enables Xi Jinping to “lean on the party.” “97 million out of 1.4 billion Chinese competing with each other for advancement” brings “quality and discipline” to the party rule. This is the main source of Xi’s strength.
• However, one-man rule is “not efficient enough to deliver the [political, economic, and social] results that Chinese people will want.” Xi’s “personal control” over what had once been “technocratic institutions” is a “step backward” for China.
• The recent spy balloon incident is an exemplary case proving that “while the leader can give general instructions, the [Chinese] system is so huge that he cannot possibly orchestrate the moves.” Xi is “trying to do too much [on his own], and he’s likely to make more mistakes like the balloon incident.”
■ Douglas H. Paal_is a Distinguished Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He previously served as vice chairman of JP Morgan Chase International (2006-2008) and was an unofficial U.S. representative to Taiwan as director of the American Institute in Taiwan (2002-2006). He was on the National Security Council staffs of Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush between 1986 and 1993 as director of Asian Affairs and then as senior director and special assistant to the president. Paal held positions in the policy planning staff at the State Department, as a senior analyst for the CIA, and at U.S. embassies in Singapore and Beijing. He has spoken and published frequently on Asian affairs and national security issues.
■ Typeset by Jisoo Park, Research Assistant
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