China to have world’s most powerful leader

All-powerful: As a teenager, Xi Jinping lived in a cave in a tiny Chinese village.

Should we be scared of China? The country’s president, Xi Jinping, has become leader-for-life after getting rid of limits to his power. China is not a free country — but should we care?

What’s happening

Xi Jinping, who has been president of China for five years, has removed any limits to how long he can be in power. Under previous laws, he could only lead the country for ten years, but now he may step down whenever he chooses. The move makes Xi even more powerful than he was before.

Find out more

In about 15 years’ time, China’s economy will overtake the United States and become the biggest in the world.

The country could hardly be more different from the USA or the UK. It does not even pretend to be a democracy. People who criticise the government are often thrown in prison. From the emperors of old to Mao Zedong, China has always been run by a “strongman”.

Since gaining power, Xi Jinping has aimed to expand China’s influence abroad. With Donald Trump as US president, Xi sees an opportunity for China to start leading the world on trade and on fighting climate change. He has built up the military. His main aim is to make China great again.

China sees itself as the world’s premier civilisation. Should we welcome its return to the top?

Some say…

Yes. China should be an example to us of how to make a country rich and happy. Every Chinese child receives a decent education and even remote villages have electricity and roads. It is much less likely to start a war than the USA. And on top of all that China is one of the richest cultures in the world. We should be excited about the rise of China.

Others think…

No. If people realise that freedom and democracy are no longer needed to be rich, how long can those ideas last? We should not be tricked by Xi Jinping’s rhetoric. It is in China’s interest to make the West less powerful. Power corrupts, and we should not be surprised if Xi Jinping becomes more and more brutal. The rise of China would be a disaster.

You Decide

  1. Are you excited about the rise of China - or worried?

Activities

  1. You have one minute. List every fact you know about China, and compare with your classmates.

Some People Say...

“One day Chinese will be a main subject in every British school.”

What do you think?

Word Watch

Criticise
To think about something and come to a conclusion about. It often means to say that something is bad and to point out the problems.
Mao Zedong
The Communist leader of China from 1943 until 1976. He is seen as the father of modern China.
Remote
Distant and difficult to get to.
Rhetoric
Language designed to persuade people, but which is often seen as deceptive and dishonest.

Subjects

PDF Download

Please click on "Print view" at the top of the page to see a print friendly version of the article.