Xi Jinping is China’s most decisive, disciplined leader in a generation, leading a country that is fast approaching military and economic parity in Asia with the region’s long-standing dominant power, the United States. Xi has swept aside potential rivals at home, re-established the primacy of the Communist Party in all realms of politics and civil society, and run the most far-reaching anti-corruption campaign in the history of the People’s Republic. But on the economy, Xi has been a cautious steward of the existing order, strengthening the state sector and extending political controls into the country’s thriving private businesses. Xi is certain to win a second five-year term at the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party which opens on 18 October in Beijing. But his harsh line against his opponents, and his timidity on the economy, may come back to haunt him in his second term.