Xi Jinping has amassed a greater concentration of power than Mao Zedong, and has greater power to suppress domestic and foreign opponents than any Chinese leader in history. And yet the threat to his—and the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP)—ability to retain power faces challenges of an enormity and imminence that Mao never knew.
These threats, ironically, parallel the disruptive elements that ensured the collapse of Imperial Chinese Qing Dynasty power in 1911–12, ending more than 2,100 years of imperial governance of China. Not that the subsequent republican governments were not imperial—that is, governing an empire of component or tributary societies—but they were, and are, supposedly non-dynastic….

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