SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Tsang, Steve and Cheung, Olivia (2022) 'Has Xi Jinping made China’s political system more resilient and enduring?' Third World Quarterly, 43 (1). pp. 225-243.

Text - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).

Download (1MB) | Preview


This article offers a contextualised examination of whether Xi Jinping Thought, the latest rendition of Marxism-Leninism that functions as China’s ideology, has made China’s political system more sustainable. By scrutinising Xi’s speeches and writings since he came to power in 2012, we demonstrate that his vision is premised on modifying consultative Leninism, China’s post-Deng Xiaoping political framework, with strongman rule. This is intended to revitalise the Chinese Communist Party as a Leninist instrument to deliver comprehensive leadership, upgrade China’s economy, Sinicise Marxism, nurture a party-centric nationalism, enhance legitimacy and claim global leadership on the world stage. In the process, he has revived the Maoist mass line to induce people to embrace national goals set by the Party, ultimately to persuade them that China’s Leninist party-state is more ‘democratic’ and better at serving them than any other political system. We found that Xi’s measures have enhanced the capacity of China’s consultative Leninist state and thus the resilience of the regime in the short term. However, the substitution of collective leadership by strongman rule, and the end of predictable power transition by abolishing a term limit for himself, have undermined institutionalisation and reduced the endurance of the system in the long term.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Authoritarian resilience; Xi Jinping Thought; consultative Leninism; democracy; ideology; legitimacy
SOAS Departments & Centres: Regional Centres and Institutes > SOAS China Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
J Political Science
ISSN: 01436597
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2021 10:37

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item