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On the Record

President Xi’s Anti-Corruption Campaign

Cheng Li

During his first year as China’s top leader, Xi Jinping initiated a bold anti-corruption campaign that has resulted in the arrest of more than 20 ministerial- and provincial-level senior leaders. Although the campaign has already significantly transformed the behavior of Chinese officials at various levels and has greatly enhanced public confidence in Xi’s leadership, many risks lie ahead. As a result of the campaign’s success, Xi may be alienating the officialdom—the very people on whom the system relies for effective functioning–especially as leaders from the highest levels of power face the risk of being tried for corruption. In this interview, Cheng Li discusses both the successes and great challenges that lie ahead.

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