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Xi still needs Deng's way

Since taking power in late 2012, Chinese President Xi Jinping has surprised many with his strong powerbase and assertive diplomatic moves, in some ways pushing the boundaries set by the late Deng Xiaoping. Straits Times China Bureau Chief Kor Kian Beng examines the Xi brand of politics and diplomacy.

Published on Apr 14, 2014 11:25 AM

Capping a year of high-profile and at times provocative diplomatic moves that have stirred unease in Asia and beyond, Chinese President Xi Jinping recently described China as "a lion that has awakened".

That remark, which referenced Napoleon's description of China as a sleeping lion, has prompted many to wonder if Mr Xi intends to end late strongman Deng Xiaoping's foreign policy strategy of taoguang yanghui or "hiding one's capabilities and biding one's time". Some even think he has already done so.

Mr Xi's foreign policy moves have taken many by surprise, as most thought that he, like past Chinese supremos, would not move as forcefully on foreign policy but spend his first year mostly on domestic priorities, such as consolidating his powerbase, tackling corruption and keeping a lid on social dissatisfaction.

But Mr Xi did signal early on that he would be a different kind of leader.

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