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Past Event

Toward Xi’s third term: China’s 20th Party Congress and beyond

Past Event

As the world looks ahead to China’s 20th Party Congress in late 2022, many questions remain about the future makeup of the top echelon of Chinese leadership. As Chinese leaders confront a year of unknowns ahead — from the deterioration of U.S.-China relations to economic structural changes — any move could affect the outcome of the leadership change. Having led the country for almost a decade, Xi has undertaken unprecedented campaigns to fight corruption, reform the military, and eliminate poverty. But what plans, priorities, and challenges lie ahead for his anticipated third term? Will this round of leadership change reveal the future process of political succession? How will factional politics and new elite groups play into the selection of the next generation of leaders?

On Thursday, January 20, the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings hosted two panel discussions featuring top China scholars, who discussed the evolution of norms in Chinese elite politics, predictions of the outcomes of the 20th Party Congress, and what the future holds for Xi Jinping. Viewers submitted questions via email to or on Twitter using #20thPartyCongress.


Opening remarks

Panel discussion: Perceptions and realities of Chinese elite politics


Andrew Mertha

Professor and Director, China Studies Program; Director, China Global Research Center - Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies


Alice Miller

Research Fellow - The Hoover Institution

Lecturer in East Asian Studies - Stanford University


Anthony Saich

Professor of International Affairs and Director, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation - Harvard Kennedy School

Panel discussion: Xi Jinping’s past, present and future


Susan Lawrence

Specialist in Asian Affairs - Congressional Research Service


Yawei Liu

Senior Advisor on China - The Carter Center


David Shambaugh

Gaston Sigur Professor of Asian Studies, Political Science & International Affairs; Director of the China Policy Program - Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

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