China's Latest Dynasty Fights for Survival

Oct 19, 2017 | 09:00 GMT

Televisions on display at an electronics store in Hong Kong are all tuned to Chinese President Xi Jinping's address to the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress on Oct. 18, 2017.

In his address to the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress on Oct. 18, President Xi Jinping said China had "entered a new era." Keeping its hold on power for the duration of this new chapter will be a familiar challenge for the Party.


Editor's Note

The 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress runs Oct. 18-24. The convention marks the start of a transition as delegates name new members to lead China's most powerful political institutions. But the change in personnel is only part of a larger transformation underway in the Party and in the country — a process that began long before the party congress kicked off and will continue long after it ends. This is the final installment in a four-part series examining how far China has come in its transition, and how far it has yet to go.

Though modern China has changed considerably from its imperial origins, it retains an authoritarian system of governance reminiscent of an earlier era. The Communist Party's imperative to defend and sustain its monopoly on power -- what was known in imperial China as the "mandate of heaven" -- scarcely differs from that of the dynasties that ruled the country for millenniums prior. Throughout its 68 years in power, the Communist Party of China has demonstrated resilience and adaptability, qualities that enabled it to outlive numerous other communist movements around the world. The Party transformed itself from a revolutionary organization that fought Japanese occupation and helped reunify China into the architect of the country's economic miracle. And along the way, it endured several disturbances, including the Cultural Revolution, the Tiananmen Square protests, the rise of globalization and the development of the private economy. Now that the Chinese economy has started to slow...

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