The epidemic was the “same crisis” that China needed to seize power, and Xi Jinping’s 2022 plan is for “something bigger.”
Xi Jinping rewrote the Constitution of China. He removed all signs of opposition. The “idea” prevails. Is 2022 the year he seized the throne of the Dragon?
This year, President Xi, 68, has made it all about himself.
The Sixth Plenum of the CPC Central Committee was a landmark event in the 100-year history of the Communist Party of China. The decision of history declared that there was only the third time that such a basic ideological statement had been made.
Only, it wasn’t really about the past. Announcing Xi’s vision for the future.
It installed him alongside Mao Zedong as the main force of the Chinese Communist Party. All this guarantees him an unlimited period in office.
All that stands between him and unlimited power is the party’s twentieth congress scheduled for October. Mr. Xi has been working hard to ensure that his results are a reality.
“Xi knows firsthand that China’s political system is a blood sport that requires a constant display of power and dominance,” says Jude Blanchett, an expert at the Center for Strategic Studies in China.
Rewrite the rules
In March, Mr. Xi urged China to have “self-confidence in our path, self-confidence in our theories, self-confidence in our system, and self-confidence in our culture.”
And in the same.
“In the last party plenum, Xi’s standing within the party was once again raised, with China’s communist history formally rewritten to position him as the country’s modern saviour,” Blanchett says.
But it was just another step in a process that began before he was elected President of the People’s Republic of China in 2012.
By 2018, Mr. Xi had successfully abolished the constitutional five-year term limit. He was already the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party – a position without limits. He was also the head of the People’s Liberation Army – no expiration date.
Mr. Xi still holds these important positions of power. But he wants more.
“The consolidation of Comrade Xi Jinping as the core of the Central Committee as well as the entire Party has been of decisive importance in the progress of the great revitalization of the Chinese nation,” said the House of Representatives resolution.
But the overthrow of the constitution had a price.
Mr. Shi does not have a designated successor. The primary objective of the ten-year period was to enable the powerful family-based factions in China to compete relatively peacefully.
This pressure release valve is now broken.
“Xi Jinping represents someone,” says University of Georgia Associate Professor Rongbin Han. “If he is gone after 10 years, someone else from another faction might have the opportunity. Now he will be there for an indefinite period. This, combined with the massive anti-corruption campaign, makes it very difficult to rotate leadership among all those factions. This would destabilize supreme leadership.”
“People generally recognize China as a party dictatorship, under the collective leadership of the party,” says Dr. Han. “Now, the power is more concentrated in one person. Taking all power over himself is very risky because you cannot blame anyone else.”
It directly contrasts with the efforts of his predecessors to emphasize collective decision-making processes within the Chinese Communist Party.
This attempt to decentralize power was largely a response to the cult of personality that arose around its founder, Chairman Mao, and the fatal consequences of his arbitrary power.
Now, Xi Jinping is trying to build a personal cult of himself to justify his increasingly arbitrary rule.
“Shi’s personality cult is a cult without personality,” says Jeremy Barmy, founding director of the Australian Center on China in the World. “Let’s face it, Xi Jinping really didn’t do anything.”
Instead, he argues, Mr. Xi is relying on a sense of the international crisis to support his position.
The clash with America was a godsend. Thank God for covid. Xi Jinping helped create the very crises that history gave China this man to solve.”
Parmi says the sect has regressed so far. “We still have quite a few people yelling ‘Long live President Xi.’ But maybe next year, with the 20th Party Congress, we’ll see further movement on Xi’s part toward his apotheosis, something bigger.”
Mr. Xi has already entrenched the idea that a third term is inevitable.
He avoided all criticism prior to the event to eliminate any sense of controversy.
All he needed now was to generate a sense of self-defense.
“If you look at the news in China, the social media field, there are a lot of things that are happening,” says Dr. Han. The anti-corruption campaign, how China dealt with Covid and all these kinds of things, convinced a large number of people to accept Xi’s rule. There are those who say that if he unites Taiwan, he can sit there forever – as long as he wants.”
seize the throne of the dragon
Xi Jinping and his backers are on the verge of victory.
But the final race to the party’s 20th congress in October is likely to see bold action to ensure success.
It’s a process that began in 2012. That’s when Mr. Xi launched a high-profile anti-corruption campaign. Almost all of his victories were against his political opponents.
In total, more than 400 senior executives were imprisoned.
“If you think about it, the anti-corruption campaign started as early as 2013,” says Dr. Han. By 2018, when the constitution is amended, Xi will have already five years in office. There were already hundreds of people at the upper echelons who had been kicked out of their positions. Presumably, these offices are filled with people he feels most comfortable with.”
Another purge began in 2018. This time the alleged crimes were vice, drug dealing and gambling.
In 2021 alone, more than 170,000 party officials of all ranks were formally disciplined. It is estimated that another 3,000 are being held arbitrarily.
Former Deputy Public Security Minister Sun Lijun, who has been detained for more than a year, was finally accused of forming a “political clique” that must be “purged” of the CCP. Former justice minister Fu Zhenhua was among those detained.
Mr. Xi has no clear opposition.
Only uncontrollable circumstances can bring him down.
“Even if his position remains unchallenged, Xi’s plan to transform China into a modern socialist country by 2035 is far from certain,” Blanchett says. Arguably, the domestic response to his policy agenda, the fundamental laws of economics, and the reaction of the global community will shape China’s future as much if not more than Xi’s paper aspirations. Xi may be in power, but he is not in a position of control. This is a lesson that all tyrants learn at some point.”
Jamie Seidl Freelance Writer | Tweet embed