Xi Jinping’s thought is omnipresent in China, detailed in everything from textbooks to collections of Mr. Xi’s writings, from dedicated research centers to applications for the study of his works.
In China, naming a political philosophy after a leader holds great significance. For Master Xi, this was a quintessential expression of his increasing strength. In his speech at the opening of the Communist Party Congress in Beijing on Sunday, he said the “full implementation” of his thought was a major theme.
During this week’s meeting, China’s political elite is expected to raise the profile of political doctrine – and thus Mr. Xi’s authority.
The party will likely amend its constitution to change the name of the theory, officially known as Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.
“Xi Jinping’s idea of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era is ‘a tiara that is too heavy to wear,'” said David Bandorsky, director of the China Media Project, a research organization. “So, he wants a tiara he can actually wear.”
Many analysts expect the phrase to be shortened to Xi Jinping Thought. Mr. Bandersky said that would make it a “strong, direct and powerful signal” of his power.
Mr. Xi had already included the full phrase in the party charter in 2017. This placed Mr. Xi above his more recent predecessors, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, whose ideological contributions, although mentioned in the same document, do not bear the names in the titles. She even jumped him over Deng Xiaoping, whose input was described as a “theory”.
The ideology is more than an empty celebration of Mr. Xi. Think Xi Jinping Ho China’s Governance Framework and Guide What would you do under his constant command?
The goal of Mr. Xi’s ideology is to strengthen the Communist Party’s role as China’s ruling body, with one strong leader – Mr. Xi himself – at the top, dispensing with the collective leadership style of his new predecessors.
Mr. Xi has stepped up his crackdown on corruption, a widely popular effort that also helps win the loyalty of cadres to him and ensures that the party, not the public at large, decides who stays in power. He also revitalized Mao’s “mass line,” in which ideas of governance are spread through society, while silencing dissenting opinions and using large doses of propaganda to convince the public that China’s policy is correct.
The mass line is how one of Mr. Xi’s signature policies, “Zero Covid,” is progressing in China. It calls for an ongoing national campaign to stamp out the coronavirus through mass testing, strict lockdowns and prolonged quarantine. While rumors swirled about easing the policy, the People’s Daily, the party’s mouthpiece, announced last week that it must continue.
Mr. Xi’s ideological strength is also its greatest weakness, Steve Tsang and Olivia Cheung, researchers at China’s SOAS Institute, He argued in last year’s paper. When it prioritizes effective policy-making and governance, it also reduces flexibility and pragmatism, they said.
“Whether the strong hand of the Party State will achieve the same positive result when the going gets tough will depend on Xi getting it right,” they wrote. Until now, Shi always doubled when his power was challenged. If the same policy-making pattern continues, the rigidity of Xi’s approach is likely to undermine the system’s resilience when adaptability is most needed.”
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