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The Party’s Interests Come First: The Life of Xi Zhongxun

Xi Jinping is one of the world’s most powerful individuals, but also one of the least understood. If we want to understand where China is going, we need to understand Xi Jinping, and if we want to do that, we need to appreciate the single biggest influence on his life – his father Xi Zhongxun. Yet this project also investigates what the life of Xi Zhongxun teaches us about the nature of the organization his son now leads: the Chinese Communist Party. Xi Zhongxun was not just another revolutionary and high-ranking leader who happened to be the father of Xi Jinping, but a man whose career and personal life are crucial for understanding how China became what it is today and the nature of Chinese politics.  

Joseph Torigian is an assistant professor at the School of International Service at American University in Washington. Previously, he was a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton-Harvard’s China and the World Program, a Postdoctoral (and Predoctoral) Fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), a Predoctoral Fellow at George Washington University’s Institute for Security and Conflict Studies, an IREX scholar affiliated with the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, and a Fulbright Scholar at Fudan University in Shanghai. He studies elite politics and foreign relations in China and Russia. 

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