Bo Zhiyue

Bo Zhiyue

Founder and president, Bo Zhiyue China Institute

Professor Bo Zhiyue is the founder and president of the Bo Zhiyue China Institute, a consulting firm providing services to government leaders and CEOs of multinational corporations. He is a leading authority on Chinese elite politics in the world and an author of a tetralogy on China’s elite politics: Chinese Provincial Leaders: Economic Performance and Political Mobility since 1949 (2002/2019), China’s Elite Politics: Political Transition and Power Balancing (2007), China’s Elite Politics: Governance and Democratization (2010), and China’s Political Dynamics under Xi Jinping (2017).

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets the media following the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 23 October 2022. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

With a tight rein on power, does Xi have to follow his own rules in China?

With the installation of those close to Chinese President Xi in the CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee and other factional groups practically eliminated, it is no longer useful to construct new factions based on autobiographical information. It could even be said that Xi now does not even have to follow his own rules.
Chinese President Xi Jinping attends an extended-format meeting of heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member states at a summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 16 September 2022. (Sputnik/Sergey Bobylev/Pool via Reuters)

[Party and the man] Factions and fence-sitters in Xi Jinping's China

While Chinese politicians can be classified into different factional groups such as the princelings, the Shanghai gang, the Youth League group, and the Tsinghua clique, these are not necessarily functional factions in real politics. What is more pertinent is politicians’ relations with the paramount leader, Xi Jinping, who has in the last ten years tried to eliminate the various factions and lump them into one loosely connected “anti-Xi faction”. This is the second in a series of four articles on President Xi Jinping and the road ahead.