How is Xi Jinping changing the course of China’s rise? Based on a Gramscian analytical framework inspired by Bob Jessop, this article provides an anatomy of Xiism (2012–) as an emergent hegemonic project, that is, a (fallible and contested) attempt by China’s party-based power bloc of altering global power balances in China’s favour while retaining domestic stability. Through juxtaposition with Maoism (1957–76) and Dengism (1978–2012), it is proposed that Xiism reformulates the power bloc’s strategy in three respects. First, the ideological vision of the ‘Chinese Dream’ negates Mao’s utopian-egalitarian universalism while readjusting Deng’s pro-market approach by emphasising ‘common prosperity’. Second, the economic accumulation strategy – built around the hyped Belt and Road Initiative – aims to reshape global trade and production patterns in a way that particularly benefits the state-owned sector, the Party leadership’s economic base. Third, Xi’s state project seeks to amalgamate Mao-style charismatic leadership and intra-party ‘self-rectification’ campaigns with both a Dengist commitment to political stability and traditional Chinese statecraft. The crucial issue for the coming decade is whether the Xi leadership will prove able to paper over the contradictions of this emergent ‘China Model’ and win support for it both at home and abroad.
- China’s Rise
- International political economy
- Bob Jessop