Friday, October 27, 2017

Xi Jinping Enshrined in Communist Party Constitution

He's up there with Mao now.

At NYT, "China Enshrines ‘Xi Jinping Thought,’ Elevating Leader to Mao-Like Status":

BEIJING — China’s Communist Party on Tuesday elevated President Xi Jinping to the same exalted status as the nation’s founding father, Mao Zedong, by writing his name and ideas into the party constitution.

The historic decision, at the end of a weeklong party congress, sent a clear signal to officials throughout China that questioning Mr. Xi and his policies would be ideological heresy.

The decision solidified Mr. Xi’s position as China’s most powerful leader in decades after only five years of leading the country, making it harder for rivals to challenge him and his policies.

While there may be no “Little Red Book” of quotations for mass consumption like in the bygone Mao era, Mr. Xi’s thinking will now infuse every aspect of party ideology in schools, the media and government agencies.

In the near future, Chinese people are likely to refer to Mr. Xi’s doctrines as simply “Xi Jinping Thought,” a flattering echo of “Mao Zedong Thought.”

“This is a way of trying to project his historic stature,” said Wu Qiang, a political analyst in Beijing who formerly taught at Tsinghua University. “The congress report and the party constitution revisions both show that Xi wants to be a kind of peer with the past leaders. That doesn’t mean he sees himself as rivaling Mao in importance, but I think it’s intended to give him an ideological status that can’t be challenged, like Mao in that sense.”

Restoring China to greatness is a central message of Mr. Xi’s philosophy. That goal already has guided Mr. Xi’s policies of building up the military, strengthening domestic controls and raising China’s profile in global affairs.

Approved by the party congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, which meets every five years, the change to the constitution adds a clunky new phrase — “Xi Jinping Thought for the New Era of Socialism With Chinese Special Characteristics” — alongside the hallowed names of Mao and Deng Xiaoping.

While the meaning of those 13 words — 16 Chinese characters — may seem opaque, they are freighted with significance for the future both of the party and of China.

The critical phrase is “new era,” which Mr. Xi has used throughout the congress. He has described Chinese history since 1949 as divided into two eras — the three decades after Mao seized power in a revolution that established a unified People’s Republic and ended nearly a century of civil war and foreign invasions, and the three decades after Deng took power in 1978 and refocused China on developing its economy...