Understanding China means understanding Xi

The life and philosophy of Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping has forged his version of China, having centralised power since becoming president in 2013. China, in turn, is set to shape the coming international order. One man’s vision will have an increasingly global impact – here, Director of the SOAS China Institute Steve Tsang sets out Xi’s thought and what it will mean for the world. This work is based on the book "The Political Thought of Xi Jinping", co-written with Olivia Cheung, and published by the Oxford University Press in January 2024.


Unlike his two predecessors, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, Xi Jinping is not a managerial but a transformational leader. He is changing China and intends to make a huge impact on the world. He aims to make what I will refer to as Xi Jinping's Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics the latest and best rendition of China’s Marxist-Leninist ideology. Having made himself leader for life, Xi will use his Thought to guide Chinese policy in the coming d

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