Xi Jinping: China's leader is a man of the People’s Republic

The President  has set a frenetic pace to tackle grave challenges and burnish a populist image

Beijing

Xi Jinping looks more powerful than any Chinese leader in recent decades as his government prepares to deliver its first-year report card on Wednesday, but a deadly weekend knife attack by alleged separatists was a reminder of the serious challenges facing his administration.

In recent weeks, China’s President has put himself in charge of three policy-setting panels: a new top-level party committee focused on steering state security, a panel on driving sweeping economic reforms, and another on cybersecurity. At the same time he has burnished his populist image with unannounced public strolls to mix with ordinary folks and provide photos ops.

The moves come as Mr Xi tries to better position the Communist Party to respond to grave challenges that test his leadership.

Only a year in office, Mr Xi is already seen as having consolidated more power than his predecessors. His leadership roles in the three policy-setting panels give him influence over police, intelligence and military operations, the reform effort and internet controls.

He’s also waged an expansive anti-corruption campaign that has felled high-level officials around the country, winning him kudos from  the public.

“Xi Jinping is a man in a bit of a hurry who really wants to do something,” said Steve Tsang, a political scientist at the University of Nottingham. “The general secretary of the party is using the party to take control and deliver.”

Mr Xi’s moves make him a more aggressive leader than his predecessor Hu Jintao, regarded as bland and increasingly weak toward the end of his decade in power while stymied by factional infighting.

As head of the state security committee, Mr Xi will be better placed to command law enforcement agencies in responding to emergencies such as those involving a simmering anti-Chinese rebellion among the Turkic-speaking Uighur ethnic minority in Xinjiang. Tensions spread to Kunming, a city 900 miles away to the south, on Saturday when assailants went on a knife-attack rampage at a train station, killing 29 people.

Few details about the committee have been released other than that it is headed  by Mr Xi, with China’s number two and number three leaders as his deputies, making it a law enforcement coordination super-agency with unprecedented powers.

Even as he amasses power, Mr Xi has also been tirelessly fashioning himself as a man of the people – a challenge  for someone who as the  offspring of the party’s revolutionary elite enjoys “princeling” status.

He visited a subway control room in Beijing last week and called on factory workers. He strolled along traditional alleyways and chatted with residents in their living rooms, asking them afterward if they wanted “a group photo”.

“I grew up near here, so today I’m here to see the old neighbourhood,” Mr Xi said.

Last month, he braved freezing temperatures and snow to shake hands with army troops patrolling China’s border with Mongolia.

Experts say that Xi’s confidence is unlikely to change the way China is ruled – by a collective leadership.

Their consensus-based decision-making at the highest levels has been seen as the best way to prevent a party chief from becoming a dictator. But “he has the guts to do some things that some other leaders, collective leaders, would not do”, said Cheng Li, at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

Read more:
Comment: talks between China and Taiwan can only be a step forward

AP

Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
The John Peel Lecture has previously been given by Pete Townshend of The Who, Billy Bragg and Charlotte Church
musicGodfather of punk will speak on 'free music in a capitalist society'
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
News
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments