With unprecedented access to Chinese leaders at all levels of the party and government, best-selling author David Lampton tells the insider story of China's political elite from their own perspectives. Based on over five hundred interviews, Following the Leader offers a rare glimpse into how the attitudes and ideas of those at the very top have evolved over the past four decades. Here China's rulers explain their strategies and ideas for moving the nation forward, share their reflections on matters of leadership and policy, and discuss the challenges that keep them awake at night. We learn of a China where party rulers have become progressively less dominant, bureaucracy and society have become more fragmented, and the people are becoming more powerful. As the Chinese Communist Party installs its new president, Xi Jinping, for a ten-year term, questions abound. How will the country move forward as its explosive rate of economic growth begins to slow? How does it plan to deal with international calls for human rights reform and cope with an aging and increasingly polarized population? In this unprecedented book we learn for the first time how China's leaders see the nation's political future, as well as about its strategic influence on the world at large.