mandag 26. juli 2021

Xi Jinping set out to save the Communist Party. But critics say he made himself its biggest threat

In January 2013, months after taking the helm of China's ruling party, Xi Jinping gathered the country's top politicians and asked them why the Communist Party of the Soviet Union had collapsed. Xi, of course, already had the answer. "It completely denied Soviet history, the history of the Soviet Communist Party, denied Lenin, denied Stalin," he said. "Party organizations at all levels had almost no effect, and the army was not there."

Nine years later, none of the above apply to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
As general secretary, Xi has returned the CCP to the center of Chinese life. Citizens celebrate the party's much-edited history en masse at packed Red tourism sites, its founder Mao Zedong enjoys a new reverence, and once-dormant grassroots party cells have been revitalized. Since 2015, Xi has embarked on a widespread program of military reforms and modernization.

But as Xi moved to consolidated the party's power, he took great lengths to guarantee his own. He has axed the two-term limit on the Chinese presidency, introduced in 1982 to prevent the rise of a dictatorship, accumulated more titles than any CCP leader in recent decades, and created his own eponymous ideology, instilled in the party constitution.