In a year of considerable pomp and circumstance at home, China’s leaders continued to focus on how to deal with slowing economic growth, and the need for greater unity and support for the party (and Xi’s) priorities and goals. Despite efforts to persuade others of the global benefits of China’s rise, a number of key international actors seemed to increasingly think otherwise.
President Xi Jinping dominated the Chinese stage during 2018, continuing to consolidate his power as the CCP sought to reassert its primacy. China flexed its muscles as a great power in a pitch for global leadership. Xi pushed constantly to portray China as the promoter of an open global economy, even as his own continued to slow incrementally amid the widening trade war with the US.