He’s one of the most powerful people in the world – yet in the West we know little about him. Who is Xi Jinping? And what are his ambitions for China and the world?
In May 2022 writer and academic Kerry Brown came to Intelligence Squared to shed light on China’s enigmatic leader. Drawing from rare first-hand interviews and Chinese sources little known to the outside world, Brown discussed Xi’s tumultuous early life from his birth into the elite to his being sent to a remote village for ‘re-education’ and hard labour during the Cultural Revolution when his father was purged and imprisoned.
Brown explored the development of Xi’s political philosophy and how his pious worship of Mao Zedong has shaped him as a leader. He examined the cult of personality built around Xi in recent years and explain what decisions like abolishing term limits on the Chinese presidency and incorporating ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ into the constitution tell us about the direction of Xi’s China.
Brown was in conversation with historian Rana Mitter for the second event in our new China series.