November 2, 2020

A quick glance at the headlines suggest that only one man seems to count in today’s China – the Chairman of Everything, as he’s been dubbed - Communist party leader President Xi Jinping. He’s helmed China’s reemergence as a world power through his aggressive foreign policy, while consolidating power at home. In this episode, we delve into his own princeling past, looking at his relationship with his father, former Vice Premier Xi Zhongxun, and how his family background has influenced his political philosophy. To discuss how Xi’s revolutionary past is shaping China’s future, we’re joined by the Chinawatchers' Chinawatchers, Frederick Teiwes from the University of Sydney and Joseph Torigian from American University in Washington DC.

Faculty Profile: Joseph Torigian

I study the politics of authoritarian regimes with a specific focus on elite power struggles, civil-military relations, and grand strategy. My philosophy as a scholar is to select topics based on the widest gap between the under-utilization of available documents and their theoretical and empirical importance, extract broader lessons, and use those lessons to help us to understand two nations of crucial geopolitical importance – Russia and China. My research agenda draws upon comparative politics, international relations, security studies, and history to ask big questions about the long-term political trajectories of these two states. In particular, I am interested in how leaders in those countries create security against threats from within the elite, their own people, and other states. Previously, I was a Stanton Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton-Harvard’s China and the World Program, a Postdoctoral (and Predoctoral) Fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), a Predoctoral Fellow at George Washington University’s Institute for Security and Conflict Studies, an IREX scholar affiliated with the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, a Fulbright Scholar at Fudan University in Shanghai, and a research associate at the Council on Foreign Relations. My research has also been supported by the Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation, MIT’s Center for International Studies, MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives, the Critical Language Scholarship program, and FLAS. I am also a Global Fellow at the History and Public Policy Program at the Wilson Center. 

Photo Credit: 

Five-year-old Xi Jinping (left) with younger brother Xi Yuanping (center) and father Xi Zhongxun (right) in 1958 from Wikipedia.,_Xi_Yuanping_and_Xi_Zhongxun_in_1958.jpg