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Home Editorials of Interest Taipei Times ‘Xi thought’ shows lack of scruples

‘Xi thought’ shows lack of scruples

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At the Sixth Plenary Session of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 19th Central Committee, held earlier this month, attendees passed the “Resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party Over the Past Century.”

The resolution divides the CCP’s rule of China into three historical phases.

The first phase was led by Mao Zedong (毛澤東), who enabled Chinese to “stand up.” The second phase occurred during the tenure of Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), who enabled China to “become rich.” The third phase began with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), who has built upon the inheritance of Mao and Deng and “made China powerful.”

The resolution also crowns Xi as a “Marxist politician, thinker and strategist,” and elevates Xi’s position within the party beyond challenge and on a par with Mao and Deng.

The resolution portrays Xi as China’s third great leader following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949. This makes Xi’s bid for a third term as president a near-inevitability and could mean that he gains life tenure as party chairman and president.

Communist China has given birth to a new emperor. It is too early to tell whether this will end in fortune or calamity for China, but what is certain is that Xi’s China will present an enormous challenge to the democratic world, and especially to Taiwan.

The resolution is of vital importance to both the CCP and Xi, and is only the third such document in the party’s history.

The first resolution, titled “Resolution on Several Historical Issues Concerning the Party,” was adopted at a party plenum in 1945. It consolidated Mao’s leadership status, and established “Mao Zedong thought” and the direction of the party.

The second resolution, titled “Resolution on Several Historical Issues Concerning the Party Since the Foundation of the PRC,” was introduced by Deng in 1981 and discussed several mistakes made by Mao, but without directly criticizing him. The resolution also helped legitimize Deng’s reform and opening up policy, as well as the new direction in which he was taking the country.

Xi’s resolution contains two important points.

First, it praises Xi’s anti-corruption drive, poverty alleviation and resistance against the US, in addition to his “reining in of Hong Kong” as “achieving an important shift from chaos into order.”

The document also lauds Xi’s staunch opposition to Taiwanese independence, separatists and interference by foreign forces, along with his “firm grip, leadership and initiative in handling the cross-strait relationship.”

Second, the resolution greatly elevates Xi’s status within the party. The CCP’s consistent guiding principle of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” has been fused with “Xi Jinping thought” to create “Xi Jinping thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era.”

The resolution says: “The essence of the current age of Chinese culture and Chinese spirit has achieved a new leap forward in the Sinicization of Marxism.”

In contrast with Mao’s legacy of founding the PRC and Deng’s legacy of economic growth, Xi’s resolution shows that he seeks to build a personal dictatorship and clearly views countering the US and achieving unification with Taiwan as crucial steps to realizing the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese people.”

Xi is reviving methods employed by rising imperial powers throughout the ages: nationalism, autocratic rule, military expansion and foreign invasion.

Although China was already a great power when Xi ascended to the highest office in the land — and Imperial Japan’s invasion of China was by then a chapter within a dusty history book — Xi made a point of emphasizing China’s so-called “100 years of humiliation” and used this to fan the flames of nationalism and patriotism.

Such strong emotions, once stirred up, are difficult to control. The exaggerated sense of national grievance awakened by China’s propaganda machine and its army of keyboard warriors, colloquially known as xiao fenhong (little pinks, 小粉紅), has coalesced into a reactionary Han Chinese nationalism, which rationalizes repression at home and abroad.

In the pursuit of China’s historical mission of rejuvenation, almost nobody inside China dares to question Xi’s monopolization of vast powers, military expansionism and aggressive acts.

Even more concerning for the Chinese people is that Xi has moved away from Deng’s low-key approach of “hiding one’s strength and biding one’s time,” and “never seeking hegemony,” that placed China on a stable path of development and economic growth, and turned China into the world’s second-largest economy.

The wildly ambitious Xi has swept aside Deng’s cautious approach. Furthermore, to consolidate personal authority, Xi has employed high-tech tools, including facial recognition, video surveillance, algorithms and online censorship to construct a system of “digital authoritarianism” that would have George Orwell spinning in his grave — and is becoming stronger and harsher by the day.

The resolution also indicates that Xi’s goal is not simply to become an autocratic emperor figure, but even more so to establish a system whose values are diametrically opposed to Western democracies.

Beijing has long given up caring about outside censure over China’s human rights violations, genocidal policies in Xinjiang and its state-led capitalism that involves heavy-handed intervention in markets. Instead, Beijing proudly touts China’s economic achievements and spins the extreme level of social order and control that it employs as “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” brushing aside that they fly in the face of universal values.

Numerous policies implemented since Xi came to power show that in addition to autocracy at home, China has no intention of abiding by existing norms abroad or playing by international rules.

Instead, Xi intends to create a reinforced communist block to counter the US-led democratic free world.

However, this does not mean Xi seeks to build an orthodox Marxist-style classless society and export this to the rest of the world. Instead, he wants to use narrow nationalism to resist internationalist ideals in a way that departs from the original ideas of socialism.

This means that China will fly its own banner under the colors of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” with “Xi Jinping thought for a new era” as the core text: a pieced-together ideological foundation with Emperor Xi front and center.

The CCP’s third historic resolution lays bare Xi’s ambition to become both emperor and hegemon. It shows that Xi has settled upon an imperial future for China that will endanger the world and threaten Taiwan.

Additionally, it shows that Xi is no longer attempting to hide his political ambition, indicating that he will likely have even fewer scruples when fanning the flames of nationalism, to be turned on and off as an internal pressure release valve.

Antagonism between the US and China will intensify and China’s intimidation of Taiwan will become more frequent.

To meet the challenge of an imperialist China that has military designs outside of its borders, Taiwanese must unite and face the China menace to protect their beautiful homeland.

Translated by Edward Jones

Source: Taipei Times - Editorials 2021/11/29

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