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Emperor Xi Jinping: China enters a new era under just one leader
CHINA’S Communist President Xi Jinping has just granted himself power not seen since the days of the Last Emperor, which has global ramifications.
News Corp Australia NetworkFebruary 26, 201812:51pm
China's Xi positioned to rule indefinitely
ONE nation. One party. One man.
Xi Jinping wants China to be great again.
And he’s the one who gets to define what “great” means.
After 200 years in the international wilderness, his nation is once again an economic powerhouse on the cusp of seizing overwhelming influence.
And Xi, 64, wants to stay at its helm.
China has successfully carved out its own brand of Communism, despite the worldwide collapse of the ideology — including that of its founder, the Soviet Union.
China is confident. China is strong. China is back.
It was the overbearing theme of his three-hour and 20 minute speech at October’s 19th Communist party congress.
Beijing has long been confused at the world’s surprise at its rising confidence and power.
After all, China is just reclaiming its rightful place in the world.
The past glory of Chinese civilisation is being restored.
It’s about family values. National prosperity. Cultural rejuvination.
Xi has been the driving force behind China’s “One Belt, One Road” project, buying up ports and establishing State-owned trade links across Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
No more national humiliations.
No more bowing to international pressure.
The glory of Middle Kingdom will be restored again.
Under one man.
Chinese President Xi Jinping waves while addressing the media as he introduced new members of the Politburo Standing Committee at Beijing's Great Hall of the People. Picture: APSource:AP
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO XI
By 2035, Xi Jinping wants the “Chinese dream of glorious Chinese national restoration” through a fully developed and technologically advanced economy.
By 2050, he sees China becoming “the community of the common destiny of humankind”.
Getting there is all about reform.
Xi’s laid out an ambitious agenda for the reconstruction of China’s political system.
But he will never “copy the foreign political model” of Western democracy.
A strong and unified central party leadership is crucial for reform, Xi argues.
His state-run media and social media mouthpieces are consistent with their message: Western democracy results only in chaos.
President Donald Trump is repeatedly cited as evidence of democracy’s inevitable instability, they say.
But Brexit, Germany’s hung parliament and even Australia’s tumultuous leadership make ideal propaganda ammunition: stick with the stable devil you know — one party rule.
Now Beijing is moving into a new era.
One man rule.
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On the surface it sounds good.
Xi wants “basic modernisation of socialism” ... and for China to be “prosperous, democratic, civilised, harmonious and beautiful”.
But behind it all he also wants an iron fist.
In his speech to the Communist Party Congress last year, he mentioned the military no less than 86 times.
This means his army must complete its modernisation by 2035.
He wants the Communist Party to cement its grip on Chinese society.
Now he wants to stay in control.
And Xi Jinping gets what he wants.
US President Donald Trump takes part in a welcoming ceremony with China's President Xi Jinping in Beijing last year. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images
IT’S ALL ABOUT XI
A Chinese Communist Party Congress is held every five years.
It lays down the framework for the next five years of policy.
It anoints those who will occupy key leadership roles over that time.
But the 19th Congress last year broke that mould.
For the first time, the sitting President — Xi — failed to appoint a younger deputy as his successor.
It was a serious breach of tradition.
And something else was notably different.
Xi didn’t just focus on the next five years in his speeches.
He laid out a broad vision for China extending to 2049 — the centenary of the foundation of the People’s Republic of China.
His personal road map, “Xi Jinping thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics”, was even embedded into the constitution.
It was a sign of things to come.
The Communist Party’s constitution limits Chinese presidents to just two terms.
It’s been that way since Chairman Mao.
Now in his second five-year term, Xi continues to look ahead.
He wants to keep the top job.
So he’s just ordered another change to the constitution.
The party’s 205-member Central Committee has proposed to remove from the constitution the expression that China’s president and vice president “shall serve no more than two consecutive terms”, according to Xinhua News Agency.
Painted portraits of Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and late communist leader Mao Zedong at a market in Beijing. China's Communist Party added President Xi Jinping's name to its constitution, confirming his status as the nation's most powerful leader. Picture: AFPSource:AFP
ROAD TO POWER
Xi was born to the family of a famed communist elder.
With that rank came privilege. And Opportunity.
He quickly rose through the ranks to become Shanghai’s party leader. Then he was promoted to the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee in 2007.
Xi took the top job in the seven-member committee in 2012.
It has taken him Xi just five years to secure the reins of power like no other before him.
He’s head of the military. Head of the Party. Head of State.
He’s chairman of a multitude of reviews into matters as significant as social media security and economic reform.
He’s unleashed an anti-corruption crusade that has claimed numerous high-profile scalps. No less than 1.5 million Party members have been investigated. Some 43 past and present members of the Central Committee have fallen under its eye.
Many scalps have been beneficial to Xi’s ambitions.
How Xi Jinping Became China's Most Powerful Leader
When corruption investigators seized Politburo member Sun Zhengcai ahead of last year’s Congress, they eliminated one of Xi’s few potential competitors from the political scene.
Sun had been dubbed a future leader by long-term Communist Party powerbroker Jiang Zemin.
It didn’t end there.
Xi’s first steps in his second term as President was to evict the last traces of the previous administration, President Hu Jintao, and Jiang Zemin, from the seven-man central Standing Committee.
This largely overcomes the internal party competition Chairman Mao intended when he created China’s Communist Party structure.
All the power of China now resides in the hands of one man.
Xi Jinping just wants to make it official.
Chinese President Xi Jinping waving at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. China's Communist Party is calling for the removal of presidential term limits. Picture: AFPSource:AFP
DAWN OF THE SUN GOD
Emperors fear dissent.
And China’s been increasingly clamping down on any voice not * the party line.
One of the most dangerous titles to hold in China right now is that of human rights lawyer.
Hundreds have been detained.
Just last month, a new raft of restrictions and controls were imposed upon China’s internal social media and internet content.
Official party mouthpieces — such as The People’s Daily and Xinhua — have also been ‘reminded’ not to stray too far from message. And the mantra “how Xi Jiping...” is ringing forth, ensuring the new personality cult is seen by all.
Foreign media is increasingly finding it difficult to gain access to both China and its Party leadership. Many were banned from attending Xi’s post Congress press conference.
But the clampdown on difference goes far beyond this.
Tibet. The Uighur. In fact all non-Han ethnic groups are facing renewed oppression.
Then there’s the eternal thorn in Beijing’s side: the surviving Chinese Republicans clinging to Taiwan.
All face assimilation into the Chinese nation, or annihilation.
Religion, or at least non-Chinese spirituality, also remains repressed.
And foreign business find competition with China’s ubiquitously State-owned and run firms to be based on a somewhat unequal playing field.
And with President Trump’s inward-looking “Make America Great Again” crusade, the US has left behind a void in international affairs that Xi has been quick to step into.
This context makes the 19th Congress even more notable.
It had the Communist Party’s absolute leadership over the People’s Liberation Army explicitly written into the constitution.
Now Xi controls the Communist Party like none before him.
For as long as he likes.
He’s the big man.
He’s the frontman.
His is China’s guiding light.
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