Welcome to the Department of the Air Force's China Aerospace Studies Institute   

CASI Banner

Xi Jinping: Lines of Authority

  • Published
  • China Aerospace Studies Institute

     Xi Jinping is the undisputed top leader of China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Chinese media. He regularly appears on the front pages of Chinese newspapers, has phone applications dedicated to “Xi Jinping Thought,” has dedicated sections for his speeches present on many Chinese internet portals, and bears the hallmarks of growing cult of personality. This omnipresence stands in stark contrast to Xi’s immediate predecessors, who preferred the General Secretaryship as a position closer to a “first among equals.” This study is an attempt to characterize the various lines of authority Xi wields within the Chinese system and his goals for accumulating them. It does this by examining organizational changes, promotional practices, political campaigns, and the use of ad-hoc small groups of senior leaders. This study builds on work by several scholars and think-tanks, including work on Leading Small Groups from Alice Miller, the China Leadership Monitor, and the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), expanding on their work using the latest available Chinese-language sources.
     Thus, to better understand Xi’s authority as wielded through titles, campaigns, and Leading Small Groups (LSGs), this study takes a broad scope to Xi Jinping’s authority and understanding how his political power has been utilized since his assumption of Party and state leadership in 2012 and 2013, respectively. While previous scholarship represents an impressive foundation, available works on LSGs appear to focus on descriptions of their membership and predicted function, and often fail to account for their broader utility within China’s political system. Therefore, this study will both provide context for the LSGs by connecting them with political campaigns, as well as explore their use as a supplement to Xi’s official powers. Primarily, Xi Jinping’s authority comes from three titles: General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party[总书记], Chairman of the Central Military Commission [军委主席], and President of the People’s Republic of China [国家主席].

Click here to read the full report