Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned top cadres to get ahead of political risks, saying a “butterfly effect” could turn small threats into big dangers.
Xi conveyed the message to senior officials at an internal meeting in February, but the comments were only made public earlier this month in a book released by Central Party Literature Press.
“Small risks will become big risks, risks will become general risks, and economic and social risks will become political risks.”
In the speech, Xi also asked officials to “identify risks early, act quickly, take command at the front and make immediate judgments as soon as they arise”.
“Do not let small things be delayed to become big things, and big things be delayed until they explode,” Xi said.
Xi’s February speech came a month before he began his record third term as China’s president in March. Officials across the country were asked to learn from the speech and put Xi’s mandates into practice, according to earlier reports in state media outlets.
In recent years, Xi has repeatedly stressed the need to be alert, urging officials to wage a “great struggle” and prepare for “worst-case” scenarios.
Dali Yang, a political scientist at the University of Chicago, said Xi’s comments were tied into his all-encompassing approach to China’s security.
“Xi has been concerned about all kinds of risks for many years, and an important thing for him lately is to look at national security from a holistic perspective,” Yang said.
“I think when he talked about the butterfly effect, it was related to the protests last winter.”
Abroad, major challenges include tight US restrictions on China’s technology sector and geopolitical tensions with Washington and its allies.