Too Big to Quail

Peter Parks / AFP / Getty Images

A Shanghai shop sells paintings of Xi Jinping, confirmed as the country's latest President on March 14 in Beijing

In two of the world's most opaque states, new leaders have just taken office: Pope Francis in the Vatican and President Xi Jinping in China. While the Pope was a surprise choice, Xi's ascension was expected: he had already been named last November to the powerful positions of General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and chairman of the country's Central Military Commission. Both men face mounting calls to govern more transparently and justly. The Pope has generated more news coverage, but it is Xi, as head of the planet's biggest nation, who has far greater potential to influence...

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