World

How Xi Jinping remakes China in his image


During his 10 years in power, Xi Jinping has dislodged political opponents, replacing them with allies. He wiped out civil society, leaving people without help outside of his government. He stifled dissent, moderating public conversation by propagating his greatness.

Now, having secured a precedent-defying third term, Xi is ready to push his vision of a stronger nationalist China, with himself at the center.

His consolidation of power was featured on the front pages of the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China. At the end of every party congress over the past 20 years, the newspaper has shown top leadership alongside other senior officials, signaling a model of collective leadership. But that tradition ended at the last party congress, with Mr. Xi’s face taking up almost the entire page.






Other members of the Politburo

Committee

Other members of the Politburo

Committee

Other members of the Politburo

Committee


This year’s congress, which takes place on Saturday, solidifies his control even further. Mr. Xi is now positioned as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, whose near unchecked power allowed him to lead China through years of famine and bloodshed.

As a result, Mr. Xi’s access to everyday life in China will almost certainly grow even further – in a country where he seems to be everywhere.

Xi’s omnipotence begins at the top of the Chinese government.

The Politburo Standing Committee is the Communist Party’s most powerful decision-making body, and its membership is negotiated by the most senior members of the party at each congress. Historically, competing factions within the party have raced to elevate their favorite candidates to the committee, forcing the final group to weigh different policy priorities and govern by consensus.

But the new lineup, announced Sunday, shows how radically Mr. Xi has scrapped that standard.






Mr. Xi has appointed allies too old or inexperienced to take over.

Some members considered less close to Mr. Xi retired early.

Mr. Xi has appointed allies too old or inexperienced to take over.

Some members considered less close to Mr. Xi retired early.

Mr. Xi has appointed allies too old or inexperienced to take over.

Some members considered less close to Mr. Xi retired early.


In a major shake-up, four of the previous seven standing committee members – some of whom are seen as less close allies of Mr. Xi – are being replaced by those seen as centrists. with Mr. Xi. New members include Li Qiang, the party secretary of Shanghai, whose long relationship with Mr. Xi seems to outweigh his oversight of that city’s disastrous lockdown, and a one of Xi’s top aides, Ding Xuexiang.

The new composition makes it less likely that anyone will deprecate its priorities in the years to come, even if it is almost entirely blurred in the standing committee’s decision-making.

Also of note: All seven members are at least 60 years old, so it is highly unlikely that Xi’s successor in the next five years is likely. Mr. Xi is ensuring that there is no question about who is – and will continue to be – in charge.

Xi .’s Agenda

One of Xi’s central messages is that he alone can lead China to glory. He has framed his policies as “zero Covid” – an effort to eradicate coronavirus infections with lockdowns and mass testing – and an aggressive stance towards Taiwan is the only way for China to demonstrate. themselves on the world stage.

That means that even if some of those policies hurt the economy, cause public discontent, and heighten geopolitical tensions, questioning them is questioning him. increasingly unthinkable in China today.

Even narratives of the party’s history now revolve around Mr. Xi, as if its development were all about his leadership. Head to the Communist Party of China Museum, which opened last year in Beijing.



The museum seems designed to reinforce the personality cult surrounding Mr. Xi and suggest that his agenda has the backing of history. His quotes are plastered on the walls throughout the exhibits – including those about events decades before his birth, such as the student protests against imperialism in 1919 – as if only he could explain and authenticate these pivotal moments in the party’s history.

Xi is “core”

Across the country, slogans adorn shopping malls and bridges proclaim Xi’s central location. Many call him “core,” a phrase that propaganda officials have coined to describe both Xi himself and his political ideas.

Due to the length of the phrase “with comrade Xi Jinping as the core”, some banners spanned entire overpasses.






With Comrade Xi

Xi Jinping as the core”

Closer solidarity within the Party

Central Committee with Comrade Xi

Xi Jinping as the core. Be realistic

the act of celebrating the victory of

The 20th National Congress of the Party

With Comrade Xi

Xi Jinping as the core”

With Comrade Xi

Xi Jinping as the core”

Closer solidarity within the Party

Central Committee with Comrade Xi

Xi Jinping as the core. Be realistic

the act of celebrating the victory of

The 20th National Congress of the Party

With Comrade Xi

Xi Jinping as the core”

With Comrade Xi

Xi Jinping as the core”

Closer solidarity within the Party

Central Committee with Comrade Xi

Xi Jinping as the core. Be realistic

the act of celebrating the victory of

The 20th National Congress of the Party

With Comrade Xi

Xi Jinping as the core”


The depiction of Mr. Xi as core has been around for several years now. But it is increasingly emphasized. At the closing ceremony of this year’s congress, the delegates voted to uphold the “core position of Comrade Xi Jinping” in the “duty of all party members”.

“Xi Jinping Thought”

Even if the country does not host a major political event, Mr. Xi cannot avoid it. Children learn Mr. Xi’s political philosophy, known as “Xi Jinping Thought”, in textbooks playing on his name. (Xi’s character is also the character for “study.”) His books on how to govern China are prominently displayed at the entrance to the bookstores. Xi Jinping Thought even has its own application.

His philosophy was also enshrined in the Communist Party’s 2017 constitution. The party’s position was further strengthened at this year’s congress, which passed a resolution declaring that the amendments to the party constitution were designed. to better uphold the Xi Jinping Thought.

The emphasis on lavish, visible reverence for Mr. Xi has created pressure on local governments, schools and other institutions to show their allegiance. During the congress, photos went viral on social media of hospital patients, firefighters and even monks watching Xi’s speech.


Yet even under Xi, expressions of loyalty can go too far in a country still threatened by the Cultural Revolution, the decade of violence and fanaticism Mao created to strengthen its own power.

Earlier this year, local officials in the southern region of Guangxi printed and distributed red pamphlets on Xi Jinping Thought.



Photos of villagers, students, hotel chefs and government employees intently searching for them were posted in state media. “A treasure in the palm of your hand,” a government website claims.


But as the images went viral on social media, some users expressed concern over the buzz of Little Red Book, a book of Mao’s works that was widely distributed during the Cultural Revolution.

Not long after, state media reports and official propaganda about the booklets were deleted.

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