A growing concern on Xi Jinping’s leadership indicates his attempt to revive personalistic rule in governing the country. The concentration of power from the collective leadership inevitably hurts political legitimacy, and Xi relies on more repressive and deflective tactics to compensate it. Domestically, the CCP leadership under Xi has destroyed the balance of power among political elites, deteriorated the inner-party democracy, intensified media censorship and social controls, and emphasized nationalism and territorial integrity. Internationally, the aggressive foreign policies to neighboring regions and the expansions of military capability have provoked widespread backlashes from international society.
The COVID-19 pandemic has offered a new phase to Xi’s quests to consolidate power inside and outside of China. The domestic and international settings have been completely changed from the pre-pandemic world. It is a critical moment for Xi’s leadership to determine how to govern the country and deal with international pressure in a manner that requires the ability to ensure domestic stability and prevent global isolation of the country. This workshop is an extensive effort to evaluate the Xi’s political legitimacy from a variety of perspectives, including foreign affairs, elite power-sharing, central-local relationship, media and social controls, industrial and economic policies, and ruling ideology. Next, we will identify Xi’s essential tasks to solve the new challenges that emerged from the COVID-19 epidemic and predict the future of policy-making in the above aspects.