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Profs & Pints DC: Understanding China's Leader



A look at the background and rule of President Xi Jinping, with Joseph Torigian

Now - Oct 03, 2022. From: 06:00 PM to 08:30 PM

Profs and Pints DC presents: "Understanding China’s Leader," a look at the background and rule of President Xi Jinping, with Joseph Torigian, assistant professor in American University's School of International Service, scholar of authoritarian regimes, and author of Prestige, Manipulation, and Coercion: Elite Power Struggles in the Soviet Union and China after Stalin and Mao.


October 16th marks the opening of the Chinese Communist Party's Twentieth Party Congress. The gathering, held every five years and the most important event on China's political calendar, is always widely watched by the outside world for clues about China's trajectory at home and abroad. This year, however, it's especially significant, in that most analysts believe that Xi Jinping will win a historic third term as China's top leader.


Xi is both one of the most powerful men in the world and one of the most mysterious, notable for how little is known about him. But Profs and Pints offers you a chance to gain insights into him with the help of Professor Joseph Torigian, whose first book examined elite power struggles in China and the Soviet Union and whose second, forthcoming book is a biography of Xi Jinping's father.


Professor Torigian will discuss how Xi's leadership style combines both new and old elements of Chinese politics, and how many assessments of him fail to grasp the complexities of Chine's elite or the role of ideology in China today. Although Xi clearly believes that only devotion and conviction among party members can save the Chinese Communist Party, his experiences during the Mao era suggest that he views radical politics with both skepticism and distaste. He seems determined to maintain the economic vitality produced by the "reform and opening up" initiated by one of his predecessors, Deng Xiaoping, while drawing upon earlier periods to deal with the challenges to regime stability that economic reform brought.


The Wall Street Journal once published an article headlined: "How the U.S. Misread China's Xi: Hoping for a Globalist, It Got an Autocrat." Dr. Torigian will give you a nuanced understanding of Xi and what's at stake for the U.S. as it tries to make sense of his leadership style. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, or $13 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.)


Image: President Xi Jinping of China as photographed in 2016. Photo by Narendra Modi / Wikimedia Commons.

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