In July 1921, a small group of would-be revolutionaries gathered in secret in Shanghai to found a communist party in China. Surviving civil war and world war, followed by massive cultural and political upheavals of the Mao era, and now decades of economic growth and increasing regional and global diplomatic tension, the party’s grip on power of the world’s most populous country would seem as strong as ever.
But even as General Secretary Xi Jinping flexes his political muscles by centralizing power and launching a more assertive role for China in the global community, the party finds itself at a crossroads. Is it prepared to sacrifice economic growth to combat climate change? Is its campaign of suppressing dissent enough to insulate itself from the demands of the country’s exploding middle class? What will happen to the uneasy alliance between a communist party still officially committed to the principles of Marxism-Leninism and the growing cadre of China’s capitalist elite in the years to come?
In this essay series, scholars from the Ash Center community Tony Saich, Edward Cunningham, Dennis Kwok, Elizabeth Plantan, Yinxian Zhang, and Jérôme Doyon discuss China's fiercest challenges as the CCP embarks on its next 100 years.