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Xi Jinping Is Too Busy Lobbying China’s Elite for a Global Summit

China’s president needs the endorsement of top Communist Party officials to secure a third term, and campaigning at home leaves him little time for foreign engagement. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits a village in China’s Shaanxi province on Sept. 13.

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits a village in China’s Shaanxi province on Sept. 13.

Photographer: Li Xueren/Xinhua/Getty Images

It’s a delicate time to be in charge in China.

Every five years, a big meeting rumbles around in the world’s second-largest economy. While China isn’t a democracy, the Communist Party leadership meeting next year will be an election of sorts. President Xi Jinping, having coalesced power around himself and secured a constitutional rewrite to bust presidential term limits, is going for an unprecedented third term.