What Is Xi Fighting? The Dynamics of Corruption in Post-Mao China

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5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
Virtual Event

About this event

Professor Andrew Wedeman (Georgia State University)
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What Is Xi Fighting? The Dynamics of Corruption in Post-Mao China


Analysis of the anti-corruption crackdown launched by Xi Jinping in late 2012, early 2013 shows its primary effect was to dramatically increase the number of senior officials – popularly known as “tigers” – charged with corruption. Heretofore, much of the debate about the crackdown has focused on who was been taken down and why. In this talk, I shift the focus away from the “who” and “why” questions to a deeper question: what led to the apparent proliferation of tigers in the years before the crackdown? That is, how did corruption spread among the senior ranks of the party-state? Drawing on data on the tigers’ involvement in corruption, I argue that corruption was “promoted” upward during the years that preceded Xi’s crackdown. Xi’s fight with corruption has thus been a battle with corruption that spread first among the middle ranks of the party-state and then moved upward into the leadership as corrupt officials rose up through the ranks. As such, Xi is not just fighting tigers, he is fighting a disciplinary system that failed to weed out corruption at the middle and low-levels.

About the speaker

Andrew Wedeman is a Professor of Political Science and the Director of China Studies at Georgia State University. He is the author of Double Paradox: Rapid Growth and Rising Corruption in China (Cornell) and From Mao to Market: Rent Seeking, Local Protectionism, and Marketization in China (Cambridge). He is currently working a book analyzing Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption crackdown tentatively entitled Hunting Tigers and Swatting Flies: Xi Jinping’s Battle with Corruption .


This webinar will take place online via Zoom. After registering, a separate Zoom registration link will be emailed to you closer to the date of the webinar. Online Registration

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Chair: Professor Steve Tsang (Director, SOAS China Institute)

Organiser: SOAS China Institute

Contact email: sci@soas.ac.uk