China Scenarios für Xi Jinping's third term

Five scenarios for Xi Jinping's third term

This study lays out five scenarios for China’s path over the coming years in order to help formulate strategic responses. They were developed at Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) with methodological guidance from the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI and draw on 15 political, social, economic and technological factors.


In March 2023, Xi Jinping sealed a third term in power heading both the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese state. In “Xi III”, China is entering a phase of increasing uncertainty. Whatever path China takes will have serious implications for its own people and the rest of the world.

The baseline scenario is a “Shaky China”, an unstable ‘status quo’ scenario, in which China’s economy, politics and engagement with the world follow the trends seen at the outset of Xi’s third term in office. Significant changes in some of the underlying factors could create pathways to cross over into one of four more extreme scenarios

  • Confrontational Chin
  • Successful China
  • Restrained China
  • Reformist China

This study also offers an overview of potential triggers that that could bring a change in China's trajectory.





  • Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS)