Xi Jinping embodies a point of discontinuity within recent Chinese history. The “golden decade” of China, the period from 2002 to 2012, was a country marked by double-digit growth, able to organize Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 and the Expo in Shanghai in 2010, both events considered successful. It was also the country that, after the period of Deng’s Reforms, had been able to find a place within the global economic establishment, guiding its economy in a planned manner and able to defend it against harmful external influences, to such an extent that the financial crisis of 2008 hit Beijing only indirectly, causing difficulties for its exports model.
The China of that period was a country led by the Communist Party, not without controversy on human rights issues, but whose technocratic leadership abilities were recognized, able to steer the Chinese ship in the desired direction. The “leadership” was spoken of in a generic way, and for good reason: Then-leader Hu Jintao was not on the International media’s radar. Few remember his theoretical contribution, the “scientific development” of Chinese socialism, as he cut a gray, unremarkable figure, diluted among the collective leadership of the party.