Xi’s triumph at the 19th National Congress has understandably fueled widespread speculation that his now-formidable power will enable him to impose his vision of hardline authoritarian rule, underpinned by Chinese nationalism, in the coming years. And that is a possibility. But it is far from guaranteed.
The reason is simple: though the CPC’s internal power dynamics haven’t change much in the last few decades, Chinese society has moved far beyond the Maoist or even the Dengist era.
Few Chinese, including members of the party, genuinely believe in any official doctrine. Economically, the private sector accounts for more than 60% of China’s output, and the CPC has become practically irrelevant in the daily lives of ordinary Chinese.
This is the paradox of power in the era of Xi.
Source: The Paradox of Xi’s Power