Leadership in its true essence is the ability of individuals to deliver what is expected of them while adhering to certain principles as it is the leader who shapes the future. It is a complex moral relationship between people, based on trust, obligation, commitment, emotion, and a shared vision of the good. Leadership is that process in which one person sets the purpose or direction for one or more other persons and gets them to move along together with him or her and with each other in that direction with competence and full commitment. A true leader is the one who can envision much beyond the layman eye, stands tall where others falter and remains hopeful where others breakdown. It is by no means an easy task! President Xi Jinping of China is one such marvelous example of true leadership who has taken the world and turned it into a goldmine for his people and nation. While explaining the economic state of China, Jim Reid, Managing Director, Global Head at Deutsche Bank, very aptly asserts that, “the door China opened will not close but will open wider and wider”.
President Xi Jinping is serving not only as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, and is also President of the People’s Republic of China, but holds the honorable office of Chairman of the Central Military Commission. The fact that Xi Jinping holds the top offices of the party, military, while being the head of state through the office of the President, he has earned himself the title of China’s ‘paramount leader’. Further among the other titles given to him is that of ‘core’ leader. As General Secretary, Xi holds an official seat on the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, that is, China’s top decision-making body. Being among China’s fifth generation leadership, Xi Jinping has succeeded in centralizing institutional power by taking on a wide range of leadership positions, including chairing the newly formed National Security Commission, as well as new steering committees on economic and social reforms, military restructuring, and the Internet, thus implying that he has a comprehensive command over every affair of the country. Since his achievements and contributions can be found in a wide array of national concerns, therefore, his political thoughts are a part of the party constitution for future leaders to learn from.
Xi Jinping’s contributions can only be understood in the backdrop of his political party that is, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) founded in 1921 in Shanghai, established with only fifty-seven members turning into the largest national Communist organization in existence, with over sixty-six million members by 2002. The CCP has governed China from the Republic’s founding in 1949 until today, undergoing leadership changes and significant shifts in its fundamental economic policies as well as its strategies for economic and social development. The party’s ideological foundation is Marxism-Leninism, but as its leadership has shifted over the years, the names of the most significant Chinese leaders have been added to those of Marx and Lenin, and their theoretical formulations have been recognized in the party’s constitution. In the most recent version of the party’s statute, ‘Mao Zedong Thought’, ‘Deng Xiaoping Theory’, and the ‘Important Thought of the Three Represents’ (Jiang Zemin) are all part of the CCP’s fundamental doctrine, that is, “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
In the first three years of his tenure as top leader, Xi Jinping surprised many Chinese analysts with his bold and effective political moves and policy undertakings. His foremost achievement is the quick and skillful conclusion of the Bo Xilai trial, which was being termed as China’s ‘trial of the century’ both nationally and internationally. It was being seen as a no-win case that was a potential setback for the CCP leadership as it exposed the immoral lifestyles of some high- ranking party leaders, including involvement with sex, drugs, money laundering, and even murder. But the fact that Xi Jinping and his colleagues handled the case wisely became a feather in his already adorned cap.
Xi has also shown dexterity on the foreign policy front. Although the outside world harbor mixed views about China depending upon the relations and the threat that her success poses to them. However, in most cases she is seen as increasingly assertive and even belligerent. Public in Chinese, on the other hand view foreign policy issues from their personal patriotic lens. Most of the Chinese believe China’s foreign policy under Xi Jinping has been a great success as his proactive foreign policy approach represents a remarkable departure from that of a policy of inaction adopted by his predecessor.
Between 2015 and 2016, while China was under the spell of a slowdown in economic activity, socioeconomic tensions triggered public concerns within and abroad. Xi Jinping, however accomplished a much required military reform that became an unprecedentedly large-scale and multifaceted transformation that restructured the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Through this reformation, Xi Jinping completely revamped the PLA administrative lineup, restructured its regional organization, and reshuffled officers across departments, regions, and services. Talking about reformations, most importantly, president Xi Jinping is determined to reform and revitalize China’s economy.
President Xi Jinping’s vision towards the economic uplift of China is displayed by his policies and the various steps he has taken since he was sworn in to office. The idea of national rejuvenation according to him is something that cannot be possible without the leadership of China’s Communist Party as it is the party ideology that plays central. He has championed his vision of a “Chinese dream,” defined as the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the opportunity for all Chinese to attain a middle- class lifestyle. The overall objectives of Xi’s economic policy are to make the private sector the driver of the Chinese economy, aiming to satisfy the desires of the Chinese middle class, and to allow more members of the lower class to attain middle-class status. President Xi also aims to present China and the world with a blueprint for this new phase of China’s economic reform, that is a road map for financial liberalization, service- sector development, and a new stage of environmentally friendly urbanization.
President Xi believes in continuing to comprehensively deepen reform and “adopting a new vision for development,” which reiterated Xi Jinping’s five development concepts that is, innovation, coordination, green development, opening and sharing, and reemphasizes the significance of letting the market play a decisive role in resource allocation. The President acknowledges the fact that instead of purely focusing on the speed of economic growth, policy makers now also emphasize higher productivity, higher profitability, more innovation and efficient distribution, as well balanced development between urban and rural areas, and among different regions of the country. This is also consistent with the tone from policy makers in recent years that is, focusing on not just the quantity but also the quality of development.
While formulating a two-stage development plan,president Xi emphasized importance of the period up to 2020 terming it as the decisive stage in building a moderately prosperous society. This includes the important goal of doubling income by 2020. Of the two stages, the first stage ensures that socialist modernization is basically realized, and the second stage is to develop China into a great modern socialist country.
Further measures are being taken to turn the economy from a high-growth phase to a high-quality development stage. These include deepening supply side reforms, strengthening innovation, promoting important reforms with mixed ownership, developing a twin policy management framework with both monetary policy and macro-prudential tools, significantly loosening market access to domestic service sectors and protecting foreign enterprises’ legal rights in China. Traders and business community from all across the globe are now finding it beneficial to access the Chines market and are making their fortunes.
In social areas, Xi highlighted a policy intention to widen the coverage of education, reduce income gaps between low- and high-income groups, strengthen social protection that includes retirement, and unemployment, reduce poverty and deepen ongoing medical service reforms. Further, plans to speed up infrastructure development by building houses through a comprehensive housing system that aims to address the needs of the locals that provides them with protection from multiple channels.
In this backdrop, where China is turning into an economic giant at both regional and global level, the leadership of Xi Jinping is proving to be a great asset for not only the Chinese people and also for her economy, but for the region as well. The multiple reforms being introduces at so many fronts among which social and national security, anti-corruption initiatives and economic reformation are just a few. We can see true leadership operating in China as dreams are being realized and future being shaped up.