fredag 12. mars 2021

Analysis: Xi Jinping's two cups signal there's plenty of hot tea left

In China, there is the four-character idiom, ren zou, cha liang, which means "Tea turns cold when people move away." In the summer of 2015, the Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily published a highly symbolic article that encouraged "ren zou, cha liang," in effect telling retired party elders to quietly step down and stay out of politics.

"Some retired officials are not willing to accept the post-retirement 'cold tea,' so they do everything possible to extend their powers and try to keep their cups of tea always hot," it noted. But "ren zou, cha liang" is the norm, the signed article said.

What then are we to make of an unusual sight at this year's National People's Congress, China's parliament? In front of President Xi Jinping were placed two teacups. The six other Politburo Standing Committee members, including Premier Li Keqiang, had only one teacup in front of them. It was as if to say, not only is Xi's tea not getting cold, approaching 10 years in office, there is another hot cup of tea waiting for him to sip.