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Xi Jinping rules over 1.4 billion people and the second biggest economy on earth. He commands huge armed forces and runs a technology programme meant to dominate the globe. His ambition is to take the place of the United States and to change the world order.

Xi’s life story is full of drama: plots, purges, murders, a power struggle and a pandemic. The book, based on new sources, leads the reader from the poor, isolated China of the 1950s to the modern economic and military juggernaut of today. It reveals how the Chinese elite groomed Xi as a manager only to get a dictator, a man who has made himself into a new version of Mao and who dares not give up power.

The fresh material includes open-source Chinese coverage that the experts have missed, access to the papers of a deceased high official, information from personal friends of the Xi family and briefings from intelligence sources.