The 2017 Chinese National Congress marks the beginning of the Xi era. His leadership team is in place. In a three and one-half hour speech, Xi presented a vision for not five, but 30 years in which he sees China as a “great modern socialist country” at the center stage of the world and a new authoritarian model for other developing countries to follow. He believes the West is dispirited, divided and distracted while China is a confident, growing power. In a final act before adjournment, the party faithful amended the party constitution to add Xi’s thoughts as a guiding principal: “socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.”
It is also unlikely that the world’s largest, most opaque and most repressive political party will become a model welcomed by most countries, regardless of Xi’s personal charisma or China’s public relations tools.