Global Insight: Chinese leader risks losing control

XI Jinping risks losing legitimacy and control, Professor Robert Patman says.

The international relations specialist told Global Insight the leader of China’s one party, Communist government has limited choices, and no good ones, as he tries to tackle anti-government protests that have flared throughout the country of 1.4 billion people.

The protests have broadened from anger at stringent, long-term Covid-19 lockdowns to calls for Jinping to resign and for the people of China to be given greater freedoms.

Watch full interview

Easing Covid restrictions risk Jinping losing face. But crushing the protests, as happened 33 years ago in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, could result in economic sanctions by other countries.

"If China did crackdown, using bloody means, it... would undermine the political legitimacy of a regime that has always boasted it can deliver, through a one party state, high economic growth."

In the 100th episode of Global Insight, Prof Patman also discussed the parallels between the current protests and those in Tiananmen Square, in 1989; the huge challenges faced by China and other authoritarian regimes, namely Russia and Iran, in seeking to hold power by controlling the flow of information; the likelihood of foreign actors stirring dissent in China: and, why China’s and Iran’s domestic woes are bad news for Russia’s Vladimir Putin.