Now, Chinese leadership is under "immense" pressure from within and without, John Minnich, East Asia analyst at geopolitical intelligence firm Stratfor, told CNBC.
"It's kind of a perfect storm where a lot of these things are hitting," he said. "None of these issues by themselves would be enough to apply pressure, but together...."
A deadly industrial explosion in Tianjin last month cast further doubt on Xi's capability to control local officials, a politically inopportune event during a key moment in his campaign to reform China's economy and environmental practices at the same time.
"We're approaching a moment where, in the next couple months, if there is going to be resistance from within the leadership against Xi, we're going to see (it) emerging more strongly," Minnich said.
And as this moment has approached, Beijing's handling of the stock market crash—which saw everything from liquidity interventions to arrests for allegedly malicious selling—represented the first big stumble for the Xi administration, said Nicholas Consonery, Asia director for the Eurasia Group.
But even with this "perfect storm" of resistance forming, Xi appears to have already consolidated sufficient power to achieve his reform goals, experts told CNBC.