Xi Jinping was elected general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and chairman of the Central Military Commission at the 18th Party Congress in 2012. He succeeded Hu Jintao as leader of the Comm

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Trump has put spotlight on pardons. How does it work in China? 
In his final weeks in office, US President Donald Trump has issued a wave of controversial pardons to family members, close allies and Blackwater guards who killed Iraqi civilians.  United Nations experts said the pardon of four Blackwater contractors violated international laws that obligate countries to hold their war criminals accountable for their crimes.  But controversial presidential pardons are hardly unique for outgoing presidents. US President Bill Clinton pardoned 176 people on his final day in office in 2001, including his brother. He received harsh blowback for the decision.  President George W. Bush appears to have learned from Clinton’s experience and issued a limited number o
Tycoon who criticized China’s ‘emperor’ faces corruption trial
Ren Zhiqiang, a prominent real estate tycoon and a vocal critic of the Communist Party leadership, has been put on trial in Beijing for alleged corruption. A member of the party, Ren was a long-standing critic of China’s leadership, earning him the nickname Ren the Big Cannon. His most recent article, circulating online since March, was critical of the authorities’ initial missteps in handling the coronavirus, Beijing’s attempts to promote its successes in containing the outbreak and President Xi Jinping’s expansion of power. Although Ren did not mention Xi by name, he made references in his article to an “emperor” and a “clown” who personally directed China’s fight against Covid-19. Ren ha
How China braces its economy for a more hostile world
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. Four decades after China opened its doors and put itself on a path to becoming the world’s factory, a pandemic has exposed how much industralized nations have grown to rely on Chinese imports, from medical equipment to factory parts and consumer goods. To diversify its supply chains, Japan is subsidizing companies to move their factories out of China. And the two men vying to be the next American president, incumbent President Donald Trump and former Vice-President Joe Biden, have both signaled their desire to shift the US economy away from China. China’s
Not their ‘president’? Washington may change what to call China’s leader
Lawmakers in Washington have introduced a bill to change the way the federal government refers to the leader of China, prohibiting the use of the term “president.” The Name the Enemy Act would require that official US government documents refer to the head of state according to his or her role as head of the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP. The Chinese leader, currently Xi Jinping, holds three official titles, none of which is president. The titles are head of state (guojia zhuxi, literally “state chairman”), chairman of the central military commission and general secretary of the CCP. Yet the English-speaking world, including President Donald Trump, has generally opted for “president,” whi
China’s leader assures business chiefs he’s still committed to reform
China’s President Xi Jinping has promised leading international business executives that China will stick to its “peaceful development” path and continue to reform and open up its domestic market. In a bid to win the hearts and minds of the global business community amid rising tensions with the United States, Xi’s letter to the Global CEO Council stated that the long-term economic fundamentals of the Chinese economy remain sound and “will not change” despite the impact of the coronavirus. A summary of the letter was published by the official Xinhua News Agency on Thursday, shortly after China announced its economy grew by 3.2% in the second quarter of 2020. This followed the historic 6.8% d
Xi personally asked Trump to lift Huawei sanctions, Bolton claims
Chinese President Xi Jinping made a personal appeal to Donald Trump to remove sanctions on Chinese technology firms, according to a tell-all memoir by former American national security adviser John Bolton. In his book The Room Where It Happened, Bolton said Xi discussed the companies, ZTE and Huawei Technologies, in phone calls in May 2018 and June 2019, saying he would be indebted to the US President if the sanctions were eased. In talks on trade and Taiwan at the Group of 20 summit in the Japanese city of Osaka in 2019, Xi lectured Trump on the humiliation that China experienced as a result of the Treaty of Versailles a century earlier, according to the book.  The treaty drafted in Paris
Here’s what Trump told China’s president behind closed doors, according to John Bolton
Over a dinner of grilled sirloin steak in Buenos Aires, Chinese President Xi Jinping, reading from his notes, was full of praise for his American counterpart, President Donald Trump. The US leader improvised his response, but nodded when Xi suggested the US had too many elections. It was a chummy scene at the banqueting table as the leaders of the world’s two largest economies sat down for trade negotiations on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina in December 2018, according to a new account by former US national security adviser John Bolton, who was ousted from the Trump administration late last year. “At dinner, Xi began by telling Trump how wonderful he was, laying it on thick,” B
Inevitable war? China, America and their next battlegrounds
When thousands of China’s elites flock to Beijing for the delayed national legislative session starting on Friday, they will face a renewed debate about relations with the US. Specifically, can armed conflict between the two economic superpowers be avoided?  The question has taken a new urgency as acrimony escalates between Washington and Beijing amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The question is also known as the Thucydides trap: an ancient Greek analogy that Harvard professor Graham Allison has popularized. In his 2017 book, Allison argued that wars were often unavoidable when a rising power challenges a ruling power. While observers mostly agree that an all-out war between the nuclear-armed nati
China’s aggressive diplomacy may be backfiring
China’s diplomats are fighting an uphill battle to fend off intensifying criticism from Beijing’s critics of the country’s initial mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic. In recent weeks, some of the country’s most seasoned ambassadors have found themselves engaged in a war of words with their host countries.  But rather than adopting the traditional approach of managing tensions through diplomatic protocols, many of them have risen to the call of Chinese President Xi Jinping and displayed their “fighting spirit” – often at the expense of China’s global image, pundits say. Last week alone, at least seven Chinese ambassadors – to France, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and the Afri
Two in three Americans think poorly of China, survey says
Americans’ views on China have fallen to their lowest level since an annual poll started asking the question in 2005, according to survey results released Tuesday. The poll last month by the Washington think tank Pew Research Center found 66% of respondents held an unfavorable view of China, up from 47% in 2017 when President Donald Trump took office. And a large majority of the 1,000 Americans polled said they lacked confidence in President Xi Jinping to do the right thing when it came to global affairs, a steep increase since last year. The results come as the relationship between the two economic giants has deteriorated rapidly during the coronavirus outbreak. The two countries are engage