Clientelism by Design: Personnel Politics under Xi Jinping

Jérôme Doyon


Since Xi Jinping took power in late 2012, analysts have puzzled over how best to define his political trajectory. Is he consolidating power and building a personality cult around himself, or is he strengthen-ing the Party as an organisation? I tackle this issue by focusing on the transformation of personnel policies under Xi. I highlight an increasing concentration of power in the hands of Party leaders at all echelons. At the institutional level, the Party increasingly controls the management and disciplining of officials. At the level of the individual cadres themselves, promotion processes are increasingly managed behind closed doors and less importance is being given to objective criteria for cadre advancement. The age-based rules which structured the promotion of officials and ensured a high level of personnel turn¬over within the party state are also de-emphasised. I argue that these changes are paving the way for a more clientelist and aging party state.

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