Xi’s personality cult poses a threat to China

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Xi Jinping updates

Chinese children as young as 10 years old will be asked to participate soon lesson In Xi Jinping’s thoughts.Before they enter their teenage years, students will be asked to learn stories about the lives of Chinese leaders, and understand “Grandpa Xi Jinping has always cared about us.”

This should sound the alarm for modern China.State leaders’ respect for Xi Jinping and The cult of personality around Mao Zedong ——And the famine and terror that Mao launched during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.From Stalin’s Russia to Ceausescu of Romania For Kim’s North Korea and Castro’s Cuba, the combination of personality cult and Communist rule is often the secret of poverty and brutality.

Given the wealth and complexity of modern China, these comparisons seem far-fetched. In recent decades, China’s economic transformation has been remarkable-prompting Beijing to promote a “Chinese model” that the world can learn from.

But it is important to distinguish between the “Chinese model” and the “Xi model.” The Chinese reform and opening model proposed by Deng Xiaoping is based on the rejection of personality cult.Deng urge Officials must “see truth from facts.” Policy should be guided by pragmatic observation of effective methods, not by Chairman Mao’s grand statement.

In order for officials to experiment with new economic policies, it is essential to break the fears and dogma associated with all-round leaders. The term limit for the President of China was introduced in 1982, limiting the term of any leader to two five years. In the post-Deng era, China underwent two orderly leadership changes-from Jiang Zemin to Hu Jintao, and from Hu to Xi Jinping in 2012.

The term limit also aims to solve the succession problem that often plagues one-party countries. From now on, the collective leadership of the party will be more important than the charismatic leadership of one person.

However, in the era of Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party once again embraced the cult of personality.it merge Xi Jinping thought about the constitution at a congress in 2017. This is the honor previously granted only to another leader who is still in power-Mao Zedong. In 2018, the term limit of the Chinese president in the Deng Xiaoping era was abolition -Lay the foundation for Xi Jinping to rule for decades or even his whole life.

The current intensification of cult practice looks like next year’s Party Congress -The Chinese leader hopes to remain in power indefinitely, and the parties under his control will have to put a rubber stamp on this point.

Xi Jinping will almost certainly get his wish. His supporters and organized flatterers will welcome this move. How could they not? The Chinese leader should be a “good emperor”-a wise leader who is taking all correct measures to modernize the country.

Of course it is possible to provide reasons for Xi Jinping’s signature policy-for example Fight corruption And more A firm foreign policyThe current campaign to reduce inequality and control the power of large technology companies also makes sense.

But all these policies are also prone to errors. Intimidating Taiwan may lead to unnecessary confrontation with the United States. Cracking down on large technology companies may scare entrepreneurs and discourage the private sector.

The real difficulty is that if something really goes wrong, it is difficult for anyone to say it publicly. All personality cults are based on the view that great leaders are smarter than everyone around him. Can’t admit that he made a mistake.China’s criticism of Xi Jinping’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has always been Sent to jail. Under Xi Jinping, there will be no public investigations or parliamentary hearings on the epidemic.

The cult of Xi is essentially a humiliation to China’s educated middle class and senior officials—they must learn Xi’s ideas on a special application every day. People expect them to express their contemplative reverence for the leader and imitate his favorite phrases, such as “green mountains and green waters equal gold mountains and silver mountains.” Anyone who finds such rituals offensive or ridiculous should keep their thoughts a secret. The practice of cults means that hypocrisy and fear have now been integrated into China’s system.

The long-term extension of Xi Jinping’s leadership into the future is also a secret of future succession crises. The Chinese leader is 68 years old. At some point, he will no longer be fit to govern. But how will he be removed?

The personality cult created by Xi Jinping and his de facto “rule for life” are part of a disturbing global landscape.In Russia, Vladimir Putin is also advancing Constitutional changes This will enable him to continue to serve as president in his eighties. Donald Trump once jealously “joked” that the United States should follow China’s example in removing the presidency limit.

But the United States has checks and balances. So far, these checks and balances have successfully frustrated Trump’s worst instincts. In a country like China—without independent courts, elections, or free media—there are no real restrictions on leadership worship. This is why Xi Jinping now poses a threat to his own country.

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