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TematicheCina e Indo-PacificoIs Xi Jinping in control of Chinese minds after...

Is Xi Jinping in control of Chinese minds after getting a third term in office?

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After the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, the world has concluded that President and General secretary Xi Jinping has emerged as the most powerful leader ever of the country. Analysts have come up with several theories and suppositions to back their premise, however quite surprisingly the communists have for once been forthright in admitting that Xi now “controls” all Chinese minds and actions. After the Congress, and his third term, Xi not only decides the goals for the party, the country and the people, but also the paths for achieving those goals. Nothing is left to the people’s imagination. Everything is thought out and decreed. Some analysts say that “what this implies is that the room for policy experimentation is only likely to further shrink for Chinese officials and cadres at different levels”.

This is what the Communist party has to say, articulated in a lengthy article by Ding Xuexiang, the sixth-ranked member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party: “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era adheres to the combination of theory and practice, the integration of strategy and tactics, and the unity of world outlook and methodology; it discusses how to view and how to act. It not only outlines the task of ‘crossing the river’, but it also offers guidance on resolving the ‘bridge or boat’ question. In doing so, it provides a powerful ideological weapon for the Party to lead the people to unite and struggle, and also provides scientific work guidance.” No leader in the past, except for Mao Zedong to a certain extent, controlled the minds of the Chinese people, and in such an authoritative manner, as Xi does now. According to the latest party tenets, the party and the people will be given a “fundamental guideline for their thoughts and actions, and the unity and struggle will have an ideological foundation and a correct direction”. 

The Communist party, through Ding, tells the Chinese people that the Xi Thought is the theory, the principle, and the path as well. It is the essence of Chinese communist ethos that the people must imbibe. “It is necessary to profoundly understand the core essence, rich connotation and practical requirements of this important thought, so as to arm the mind and educate the people, firmly establish the belief in Marxism, communism and Socialism with Chinese characteristics, and confidence in the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and then consolidate the common ideological foundation of unity and struggle. When it comes to major issues of principle, such as the banner, the path, the direction, one must be particularly bright-eyed, the mind should be particularly clear, and the position should be particularly firm. There must be no ambiguity, hesitation, or vacillation.”

The party defines prosperity in the same vein. It is not material or capital prosperity that the Chinese people have to aspire for from now on. No. The prosperity will be determined by Xi Thought as well. The party tells the world how: “The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has taken the path of Chinese-style modernisation. Chinese-style modernisation is a modernisation with a huge population, the common prosperity of all people, the coordination of material civilisation and spiritual civilisation, the harmonious coexistence of man and nature, and the modernisation of peaceful development. This is essentially different from the modernisation of Western countries, which has been capital-centred modernisation, polarised modernisation, a modernisation of materialist expansion and external expansion and modernisation based on plunder.” Probably, it is this theory of prosperity that will answer the questions of the Chinese people about rising unemployment, rising costs of commodities, lack of regular promotions and avenues for coming up in the profession. They will be told prosperity of culture and history are important, not that of the capital variety. This, more than anything else, will determine how President Xi will deal with internal unrest in case of future economic setbacks. It is also an indicator of the fact that not all is well with the Chinese economy. 

There is also the usual iteration of the fundamental duty of the Chinese people: to be loyal to the party and the party leader. This is a clear attempt to control their economic or cultural emotions. Ding emphasises political unity first and foremost – he says that “we must deeply understand the decisive significance of the Two Establishments more firmly and consciously achieve the two safeguards, and always maintain a high degree of consistency with the Party Central Committee with comrade Xi Jinping at the core in terms of the political position, political direction, political principles and political path. In order to achieve the two safeguards, we must have a correct understanding and take correct actions, and must not shout slogans or engage in any form of ‘low-level red’ and ‘high-level black’.”

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