What will Xi's leadership bring?
March 14th, 2013
11:03 AM ET

What will Xi's leadership bring?

"Fareed Zakaria GPS," Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

Xi Jinping has officially been named China's new president. But what kind of leader will he be? And what does it mean for ties with the United States? Fareed speaks with Roderick MacFarquhar, Harvard University professor of history and political science, and the New Yorker’s China correspondent, Evan Osnos, about new Chinese President Xi Jinping.

When people look at his first moves, they point out that he went to one of the fast growing provinces that’s traditionally seen as a kind of sign that you support economic reform. Is that a fair analysis of that trip?

Osnos: What he did was he went down to the origins, the birthplace of the Chinese boom. And he draped himself in the flag of economic success. And he said, I will give you the “Chinese dream,” his term. This has been his innovation, his rhetorical innovation is what he calls the China dream. And it is a lot like the American dream. It's the idea that every child can get an education, you can start a business. What he's saying is recognition of the fact that Chinese people are a bit frustrated these days, and that after 30 years of economic growth, he needs to reinvigorate the idea that if you aspire to something in China, that it is a level playing field and the system is not stacked against you.

Another piece of what he's been doing has been he's visited some army units. And he has said some things that lead to people to say that this is a kind of strange alliance. There's, on the other hand, talk of economic reform, and, on the other hand, there's a real nationalism, real Chinese nationalism.

MacFarquhar: I think he knows that the only legitimizing factor really left to the Communist Party is that they conquered China and that the People's Liberation Army was the unit that conquered China for the party and that nationalism is what links the people, the party and the military. And so he is in charge of the affairs that are going on in the East China Sea at that moment. And, he is playing a quite a dangerous game. I'm sure that he does not want any conflict, any hostilities with Japan, but things can go wrong.

The hacking, that seems to me another sign of a more assertive China, a China that is willing to play by the rules in its own way and defy those rules that it wants to.

Osnos: Yes, for years, one of the theories has been that this is a loosely coordinated group of independent, patriotic hackers who are operating under the kind of general leadership of the party. I think that era is over. We now know this is a concerted, serious effort that is targeting not just political targets in the United States and American agencies, but also an enormous effort at industrial espionage, going into companies and pulling out as much of the blueprints as possible. There's a saying these days in the cyber crowd which is, there's only two kinds of companies, the ones that have been hacked and the ones that don't know they've been hacked.

What does it say about China's attitude toward the United States now? Because the one aspect of Deng Xiaoping's policy that was followed by the next two of his successors was be nice to the Americans, you know, accept American hegemony. The Chinese would generally abstain rather than vote with the U.S. in the Security Council. But the general idea was we've got to do economic development and we need America for membership in the World Trade Organization, for these kinds of things. Has that fundamental calculus changed?

MacFarquhar: I don't think the calculus has changed, but I think that the Chinese are beginning, since about '09, and '10, to feel their strength and to exhibit it, especially vis-a-vis their Southeast Asian neighbors. They are furious about the pivot to Asia. They seem to be detecting that Kerry will not be pivoting quite so much to Asia, which will be good for them. But I think they realize that America is the most open economy in the world that they can sell to. And [it’s] a place which they'd like to hack into, but that they have to preserve relations with it. And I think the next move is actually in President Obama's court. What is he going to do about this hacking?

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Topics: China

soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. James

    In the larger scheme of world affairs, the Pope's influence will amount to nothing; maybe a negative.

    March 14, 2013 at 11:18 am | Reply
  2. Jack

    Heaven bless China! “In seven days comes the Return." (I Ching) 700 years a climax.
    Zhou Dynasty, 841 BC, inception of Gonghe Regency (Joint Harmony), 1st golden dynasty.
    Han Dynasty, 141 BC, heydays of Emperor Wu of Han, 2nd golden dynasty.
    Tang Dynasty, 627 AD, reigns of Zhenguan and Kaiyuan, 3rd golden dynasty.
    Ming Dynasty, 1368 AD, 7 Voyages of Zheng He, 4th golden dynasty far surpassing Han and Tang.
    People’s Republic of China, 2069 AD, Chinese Cultural Renaissance, world harmony.

    In 1919, the Chinese people suffered.
    In 1949, the Chinese people stood up.
    In 1979, the Chinese people became rich.
    In 2009, the Chinese people took off.
    In 2039, the Chinese people is peaceful and content.
    In 2069, world harmony.

    Heaven One gave birth to Water, the Republic of China’s Five Element is water. The People's Republic of China’s lucky number is 9, its element is wood.
    Started with Mao Zedong, Mao hydrates the east wood.
    Followed by Deng Xiaoping, flat, wood, energized wood qi.
    Continued with Jiang Zemin, moisturize Chinese people.
    Passed on by Hu Jintao, splendid China, endless waves.
    Carries on by Xi Jinping, spring in the air.

    The 21st century is the century of rapid decline for Europe and United
    States, and rapid revitalization of China and India, it is the century of
    traditional Chinese culture, Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Chinese Medicine
    and Martial Arts. A comprehensive Chinese cultural renaissance is underway,
    while economy, technology, military, politics and so on are the means of
    cultural renaissance, they are small skills to carve the dragon, not the purpose.

    March 14, 2013 at 6:49 pm | Reply
    • Jia

      wake up, SB

      March 15, 2013 at 12:03 am | Reply
    • Hon Sa

      .

      不出二十年將出現中國主導的世界經濟格局

      美國經濟領先地位將被中國超越

      在中國經濟光芒下黯然失色

      中國得善用自己放款國的身份

      令欠債國屈服

      則在全球的領導地位更為鞏固

      美國 –

      債台高築 貧富不均 政治爭拗不休 利益團體權力膨脹

      未來十年內難有經濟增長的動力

      .

      April 7, 2013 at 9:25 am | Reply
      • 中国人

        April 13, 2013 at 12:34 am |
  3. sand

    there was hope for the usa 20 years ago but usa has walked the same path as all other colonial european empires just like the british and french and soviet and the ottomans in the middle age all european empires are colonial because they have there origian in ghana but not soviet the came from the eastern roman empire when rome collapsed in 400ac they have all a same background they are ghanaian people that became the celtic people. they must be destroyed cut down every celtic person kill the children of ghana.

    March 15, 2013 at 4:19 am | Reply
  4. Marco Hsiao

    [What will Xi's leadership bring?]

    The sick US media just emphasize foreign scandals and disasters – it has and is misleading the US strategy and judgment. The most possibility and most significance for the question: What will Xi's leadership bring? Answer: China (Mainland + ROC Taiwan + Hong Kong + Macau) becomes greatest country on the earth in 2025 and next 1000 years.

    In 2018, Mainland China's import and GDP in Purchasing Power Parity will be top one on the earth. In my research after 2019, East Asia will become new world center for next 1000 years; it means after 2019 China will have stronger growth. Mainland China also will become attractive.

    In 2025, China's GDP in nominal and military will be top one of the world; in 2029, China's export will be double than the second one; in 2050m, China's GDP will be double than the US. 1000 years great country is restoring! Future facts will prove my forecast.

    March 15, 2013 at 11:21 pm | Reply
  5. Marco Hsiao

    [What will Obama's leadership bring?]

    The most significance is 20 trillion Federal debts.

    If Chinese policy continues – the most significance is "greatest country". If the US policy continues – soon the US Federal debt will exceed $20 trillion.

    The US needs big reform otherwise the US treasury and the US economy will bankrupt absolutely.

    March 15, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Reply
    • Tahir

      This is what happens to the cruel and unjust nations.

      March 18, 2013 at 4:28 am | Reply
  6. j. von hettlingen

    Perhaps Xi would find his task less daunting, if the leadership's power were decentralised. It will be a huge challenge to involve over one billion citizens in a decision-making process. Yet in the long-run the bottom-up process is the only means to dealing with disenfranchised and disenchanted citizens.

    March 16, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Reply
  7. rosemaryomozusi

    Myprayers for him that god should givethe power to lend hes people toagaert and for god love to take overhes soul so that chnnles will be better place for the people so that hes joy will be ful

    March 16, 2013 at 7:12 pm | Reply
  8. rosemaryomozusi

    That china will be a good plcae for all the china both the one in the u.s.a and del will gloryfled god for the good things that god is going to use him to do in the life of the people inchinnaes

    March 16, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Reply
  9. cheap goods on slave labor

    The Army from the East – This is the beginning of China's continued growth as a fulfillment of Biblical prophesy. To which the end will be the destruction off all that oppose Israel. Why I say this is that China will continue to subvert the US and promote espionage. We are essentially at war right now but we have an idiot for a president who is busy vacationing all the time. Why is this idiot still president – because companies are making $$$ from the cheap stuff from China and do not want competency in the oval office. An idiot in the oval office which continues to show how prophesy is going to be fulfilled.

    March 16, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Reply
  10. TOMG

    THIS NEW CHINESE PRESIDENT IS NOT SMART ENOUGH TO LEAD CHINA HIS PALM LINE TELL ME THAT .

    March 17, 2013 at 8:24 pm | Reply
  11. TOMG

    CHINA NEED TO REELECT ANOTHER PRESIDENT IF CHINA WANT TO BE THE NUMBER ONE IN THE TWENTY – FIRST CENTURY ERA OF THE REAL DRAGON IS FLOWN BETWEEN THE CLOUD NINE LIKE CONFUSCIUS USE TO SAID AFTER CONFUSCIUS HAVING A MEETING WITH THE GENIUS ONE LAO CHI THE GREAT GREAT GREAT TAOISM THAT HAVE BEEN INVENTING TOO MANY THINGS FOR THIS KARMA NGHIEP HUMAN FORM TO TRANSFORMATION IN THIS STUPID DOG WORLD . THE TAOIST ARE THE GREATEST MANKINDS EVER THAT STARTING OUT ON INVENTION THE COMPASS , GUN POWDER , PAPER FOR THIS DOG MIND WORLD TO INJOY , AMEN .

    March 17, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Reply
  12. TOMG

    THIS DOG WORLD ARE NOW DAILY GETTING WORSE AND WORSER , ALL BECAUSE OF TOO MUCH AMBITION ON EAT AND CONSUMING TOO MUCH OF ALL ANIMALS MEAT , SUCH AS DUCKS AND CHICKENS AND FISHS AND BEEF COWS MEAT , DOG MEAT , CAT MEAT , HUMAN WASTE AND HUMAN URINE , MONKEYS MEAT , RATS MEAT , PIGS MEAT THAT WHY THIS WORLD ARE TURNING ONTO THE FULL OF THE KARMA NGHIEP LIFE FORM FOR NOW DAILY , AMEN .

    March 17, 2013 at 8:34 pm | Reply
  13. TOMG

    WHY DON[T WE ALL JUST NEED TO DRINKS MORE OFTEN ON OUR HUMAN URINE , WHY DON'T WE ALL STARTING TO ATE AND EAT OUR HUMAN WASTE MORE AND MORE FOR OUR DAILY LIFE CONSUMTION , AMEN .

    March 17, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  14. TOMG

    KARMA LIFE FORM ALWAYS , AMEN . LIFE FORM ARE THE FULL KARMA NGHIEP TO STARTING OUT OF AND WITH THAT'S ALL FOR THIS DOG MIND HUMAN DOG WORLD , AMEN .

    March 17, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Reply
  15. TOMG

    COMPASSION DOG WORLD THAT SHOULD BE AND WILL BE ALWAYS NEEDED , AMEN .

    March 17, 2013 at 8:43 pm | Reply
  16. TOMG

    CANCER ARE STARTING OUT FROM ONESELF MIND GAME AND THAN WILL BE OVER TOOKEN TO OVER MATTER . THE ONLY SOLUTION FOR THE CANCER PEOPLE SHOULD STOP EATING ALL KINDS OF DIFFERENCES MEAT TO HAVE A GREAT CHANCES TO OVER COME THE CANCER SICKNESS . THE REAL HEAVENLY FOOD THAT ARE REALLY HELPING THE CANCER PEOPLE ARE THE REAL FRUIT AND BAK – CHOY AND HOT TEA AND WATER ONLY FOR ABOUT THREE MONTHS INORDER TO ENDING THE CANCER SICKNESS TO ONESELF MIND AND BODY ALWAYS TAOISM TEACHING , AMEN .

    March 17, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Reply
  17. TOMG

    FULL OF DOG MIND BEING ARE BORN ONTO THIS HELL KARMA NGHIEP LIFE FORM WORLD ARE NOW DAILY , AMEN .

    March 17, 2013 at 8:50 pm | Reply
    • c

      You could start with better grammar and less spam.

      April 13, 2013 at 4:05 am | Reply

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