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Xi Jinping, the leader of China, continues to consolidate power. This week, top officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) declared that Xi’s leadership is “the key to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” That statement sounds banal to Western ears, and one more example of the hagiography that dominates Chinese media coverage of their leader.

To more discerning observers, however, it is a portent, an indication that Xi will defy precedent and remain in office for at least a third term, and likely longer. He is being elevated to a status in China equal to that of Mao Zedong. Along with that role is a consolidation of power that should be more worrisome. Checks and balances are needed to level decision making and avoid excesses and mistakes. That is the most important lesson of the Mao era, and one that may soon be ignored in Beijing.

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