A Very Very Short History of the CCP (9): The Age of Xi

Part 9: The Age of Xi

The strong man that many Chinese people were wishing for was no other than Xi Jinping, a self-claimed savior for the nation and the Chinese Communist Party.

At the CCP’s 18th Central Committee in 2012, Xi Jinping was chosen to be the new General Secretary of the Central Committee and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, the highest power positions of both the Party and the Military.

Who is this new guy?

Born in 1953, Xi Jinping is no stranger to the CCP. His father was among the founders of CCP’s China. That automatically made Xi Jinping part of the ruling class.

Being privileged did not mean life was always easy for Xi. His father was purged by Mao in 1963. As a result, the entire family was condemned as the Black Class. During the Cultural Revolution they were persecuted which led to the suicide of his half-sister. As a teenager, Xi was heard making complaints about the Cultural Revolution. The Red Guards denounced him in a struggle session as a counterrevolutionary along with other adults. He was once ended up in a juvenile detention center and was sentenced to hard labor with the assignment of building Beijing’s sewer system. At 15, Xi was sent to the remote countryside to receive his reeducation from the peasants.

After the Cultural Revolution his father was allowed to return to the position of power, along with the return of the privilege and connections, which paved the way for Xi’s astounding political career, and the eventual ascendance to the ultimate power.

The CCP old revolutionaries believed that the power they fought for and won should pass down only to their offsprings. The Chinese term for it is the Red Second Generation, or heir apparent. Both Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao did not belong to this most exclusive club. That has finally been corrected.

People had high hope in Xi who promised to clean up corruption in government and bring about social justice. In fact, Xi made this a political mass campaign. The targets were the so-called “tigers” and “flies”. Tigers referred to the high-ranking officials and “flies” to the low-ranking local party leaders, including, of course, everyone in between. People were encouraged to report on those in power, and on each other. Sound familiar?

The masses participated with enthusiasm. They cheered when they saw the downfall of more than a million of the powerful headmen. They thought their lives would get better now.

But they soon realized they had been duped, again. They saw the disappearance of the once trickled-down crumbs of the boom time, such as the end-of-year bonus, work unit sponsored free banquets and vacations. When the battlefield was cleared, they saw a new landscape of power structure. Xi had cleverly used the campaign to get rid of his political rivals, especially the Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao factions. He has consolidated the power and emerged as the strong man to dominate the Party and the country.

But to secure his power and to achieve his ambition of becoming a modern-day emperor, he had to change the Constitution. He did just that in 2018 and dismantled the political arrangements Deng Xiaoping instituted including term limit, orderly transitions of power, and collective leadership.

Now with all the absolute power in hand, what does he want to do and where does he want to take China to?

His slogan of “never forget the original intention” provides the answer. The original intention Xi refers to is the CCP’s commitment to bringing about Socialism and Communism in China.

After the detour of capitalism by Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, Xi took it to the task to reverse the course by upholding Marxism as the guiding principle for China. He was to make China Red again by abandoning Deng’s “no matter black or white cat” principle.

You may wonder why would Xi pursue Mao’s line since he and his family suffered so much under Mao. It is simple. Mao’s line is the blueprint for anyone who wants to pursue absolute power.

Xi went to work to bring back Maoism to China with his new and improved version called Xi Jinping Thoughts which can be summarized as Socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era.

One huge elephant in the room is Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Deng called it a “catastrophe”. Xi was determined to change Deng’s widely accepted conclusion with the policy of “The past 30 years of reform cannot be used to deny the 30-year historical period before it.” In other words, the Cultural Revolution cannot be negated. In addition, all the crimes and atrocities committed by the CCP against the Chinese people are explained simply as tuition the Party paid for its arduous path-finding exploration.

Now the new rewritten history of the CCP will be taught to school children. The mission is to pass the red gene of the CCP to future generations.

With total control of the Party, Xi needs tighter control over the people. Unlike Mao who depended on the masses to surveil the masses in order to control them, Xi has the help of advanced surveillance technology. The CCP now can control every move of the Chinese people 24/7 and its social credit score system can identify and punish social and political undesirables with laser sharp precision.

At the 20th National Congress in 2022, Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao was unceremoniously escorted out just when the foreign journalists were allowed in to cover the rest of the meeting. Xi wanted to show the world who was the real boss of China. It is no longer a collective group of leaders. It is now one dictator!

It is not enough to be like Mao. Xi wants to be better than Mao. In order to achieve that, he has to do something on the global stage.

Taiwan became his obsession. If he could take Taiwan, by force if needed, he could be remembered as the one who “united” China, something even Mao failed to do. And that alone could put him on the same pedestal with Mao. The world has been nervously watching the Taiwan drama unfolding in front of us.

Xi’s ambition is grander than just Taiwan. He single-handedly ended the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law that allow and guarantee Hong Kong’s self rule till 2047, known as the “one country, two systems”, by forcing a tough national security law upon the former British colony. This took away Hong Kong’s judicial independence and made it essentially just another city of China.

Xi’s confrontational so-called “wolf warrior diplomacy” on international stage and the aggressive militarization in the South China Sea have been very effective in making all its neighboring countries and the world on edge.

A popular Chinese saying goes: Mao made China stand up. Deng made China grow rich. And Xi is going to make China become powerful, (站起来, 富起来 强起来) powerful enough to take on and replace the only super power in the world, the United States of America.

In 2013, Xi Jinping launched his “Belt and Road” initiative to bring the world to CCP’s orbit. In Xi’s words, it is to jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind, with of course CCP as the center. Countries were signing up in droves with the seemingly good deals and gifts offered by the CCP. The CCP was making leaps and bounds with its scheme which seemed unstoppable.

Xi has good reason to be confident. China has become the world second largest economy and controls the supply chains of many essential goods that the entire world depends on. Xi can also depend on so many “old friends” in America to help him and his agendas. These so called “old friends” are in Wall Street, corporations, institutions, and the US government.

Fast forward to 2020, the world was shocked at another gift delivered to them by the CCP: Covid 19 virus. Through the past three years’ ordeal of suffering and death, the world started to look at Xi’s CCP in a new light.

To counter the US and the West, Xi formed an alliance with Putin right after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Even if Xi claims to be neutral in the Ukrainian war by refusing to be part of the international sanctions against Russia, China has dramatically increased bilateral trade with Russia, providing vital lifeline to Russian economy to sustain its ability to continue the war.

It is becoming obvious to more and more countries that China can’t be a trusted partner. And more and more western countries have come to the realization that CCP’s China posts a grave threat to the world.

Domestically, Xi managed to destroy China’s economy with his Zero-Covid policy through the most draconian and inhuman lockdowns across China from 2020 to 2022, which gave rise to the White Paper Revolution. Amid CCP’s tight censorship and control, tens of thousands of college students across the country held up A4 print papers to protest the inhuman Covid policy, demand human rights and call for the abolishment of and Xi to step down.

Brief as it was, this revolution is significant. We see that the younger generation since the Tiananmen Square student movement, began to realize and understand the evils of Communism. For the first time since 1949, these brave young Chinese shouted the most daring slogans “Down with the Communist Party” and “Down with Xi Jinping.”

All these are certainly bad signs for Xi.