Xi Jinping, who goes by his first name, was born into a humble family of rural revolutionaries living just north of Beijing. His father was among the first generation of leaders to be holed up in Yan’an during World War II; Xi himself spent seven years there as a teenager before continuing his education at Tsinghua University in Beijing and eventually taking over from Hu Jintao as president of China today. But while he may have risen through the ranks with relative ease—he took over after Hu Jintao retired because term limits were loosened to allow him to do so—his politics have been more controversial.
In June 2017, there was a vote held by a group of several thousand people within the Chinese Communist Party to decide whether they would keep Xi Jinping as their leader. After it was held, China’s official newspaper announced that he had been unanimously re-elected for a second five-year term even though no other candidates were running against him. Since then, many people have criticized this election and called it illegitimate because of the lack of transparency in the electoral process.
What has he done during his time as leader of China?
Xi Jinping’s main priority has been to make China a superpower more like the United States or Russia. To do this, he has undertaken an ambitious plan called the “One Belt One Road initiative” that is attempting to re-establish historic trade routes between Asia and Africa with investments in infrastructure along these routes where they are missing. Critics say that this is largely a strategic move to assert more power on the international stage, especially since many of the nations that would be receiving these investments are underdeveloped and not economically stable. Xi has also spoken out about increasing China’s military presence in international waters around Asia—a significant shift from his predecessor Hu Jintao who didn’t emphasize China’s military might as much.
Why is his leadership controversial?
Xi Jinping has been criticized for being authoritarian in his rule—even more so than his predecessor, Hu Jintao. Under Xi Jinping, there have been several arrests made against human rights lawyers and political dissidents who have spoken out against the government, causing concern among international organizations that track these issues. Xi Jinping has also been criticized for his policies on censorship which have become more stringent under his rule. While many Western media outlets once reported unfettered into China, there are now many stories coming out of the country about how foreign news sites are being blocked without notice to their editors.
What were Xi Jinping’s responses to this criticism?
When the second term voting was coming up, there was a lot of controversy surrounding it. Several academics and journalists said that they didn’t believe the election had been fair because of its lack of transparency. However, Xi Jinping responded by saying that these doubts are “worrisome” and that the election was done according to the country’s constitution. He also said that many people around China had shown their support for his reelection through online polls and forums. Certain key phrases, such as “I agree with Xi Jinping being reelected” were censored on social media sites in China so that people couldn’t protest him on the internet either. Has there been any opposition to Xi Jinping?
A significant amount of the criticism surrounding Xi Jinping has come from academics and journalists who are concerned about his authoritarian rule in China, but there have also been some protests taking place as well. In Hong Kong, for example, several pro-democratic protesters have taken to the streets in opposition to Xi Jinping’s increased influence over their government. There have also been a few protests within China itself, though they are often harshly repressed by security forces. For example, there was one man arrested for protesting Xi Jinping who has since disappeared and hasn’t been heard from since.
We see in this article that Xi Jinping is the most powerful man in China and has undertaken several ambitious projects to increase his country’s status on the world stage. He was recently criticized for his authoritarian policies but responded by saying that these doubts are unwarranted. Xi Jinping is also very popular in China because of how influential he is, but there have been some protests against him both within China and outside of its borders. In the media, Xi Jinping is often referred to as “paramount leader” or “president.”