The turn to the coercive, divisive politics of Xi Jinping represents not an abrupt, eager embrace of neo-Maoist tendencies, but a desperate and reluctant turn to a last resort after preferred options had been exhausted during the Hu Jintao era. Nor is this trajectory unique. Intriguing parallels can be found in the experience of another country that carried out a similar drastic economic transformation — the United States in the 1930s.
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