China’s Xi "Lurches" to the Left, Promotes Maoist Revival

In a move sure to dismay the people inside and outside China who hoped Xi Jinping would begin a new era of democratic reform, China’s president has “lurched” to the left, as the WSJ reports, promoting a revitalized version of nationalist Maoism across the country. “Our red nation will never change color,” Xi said during a ceremony at Mao’s old lakeside mansion in Wuhan, declaring that the villa should become a center to educate young people about patriotism and revolution.

“It isn’t just Mr. Xi’s rhetoric that has taken on a Maoist tinge in recent months,” the Journal reports. “He has borrowed from Mao’s tactical playbook, launching a ‘rectification’ campaign to purify the Communist Party, while tightening limits on discussion of ideas such as democracy, rule of law and enforcement of the constitution.”

Xi appears to have capitalized on some uncertainty at the top levels of the Party after the fall of Bo Xilai, a charismatic and popular leader who also led a Maoist revival campaign and became a threat to the stability of the Party leadership. “Many of Mr. Bo’s former supporters and several powerful princelings have thrown their weight behind Mr. Xi’s efforts to establish himself as much a stronger leader than his predecessor,” party insiders told the WSJ.

Xi’s nationalist streak comes as the country prepares for Bo Xilai’s trial and amid an economic downturn that has caused worry among investors and analysts. At the same time, China and other Asian powers are engaged in a dangerous and accelerating game of military one-upmanship. New ships and maritime units are being unveiled from India to the Philippines to Japan and territorial disputes are growing more intense. Across the region, this trend is driven in part by a rising nationalism among citizens—in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, India, elsewhere—who push their governments into increasingly aggressive and antagonistic positions against the neighbors. China is no exception.

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  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “Across the
    region, this trend is driven in part by a rising nationalism among citizens—in
    Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, India, elsewhere—who push their
    governments into increasingly aggressive and antagonistic positions against the
    neighbors. China is no exception.”

    I disagree with
    your constantly giving China the benefit of the doubt, it makes you sound like
    a bunch of quisling apologists, this is a murderous single party state, a
    tyranny. The military mobilization going on in Asia, is exclusively being
    driven by China’s outrageous claims to the entire South China Sea, as well as
    equally outrageous claims on all its borders. China’s belligerence and
    increasing economic and military strength, has been giving teeth to its
    territorial ambitions, to which its neighbors are being forced to respond. So
    what we are seeing in China’s neighbors, is a reaction to China, not some
    spontaneous rise of nationalism across Asia.

    • ljgude

      That’s what it looks like to me too.

      • tarentius


    • It is economical to leave the door open for China to reform peacefully and for us to pretend not to notice the blood soaked road they took to get there. The calculation is that a generation of hypocrisy and blind eyes is better than tens of millions dead.

      It’s really too bad that the bet isn’t going to pay off and we’re likely to end up with both.

  • lukelea

    Xi strikes me as a powerful personality and a man to be feared both within and outside China. It wouldn’t surprise me if, as a condition of his coming to power, he made a deal with the PLA to use China’s immense capital resources, not to liberalize the domestic economy for the benefit of ordinary Chinese consumers, but to turn China into a world military power to be feared and respected wherever she goes.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Actually Xi is very weak politically, having no natural power base within the Chinese governing hierarchy. As a result, he has made a deal with the national security apparatus, consisting not only of resource commitments but ideological concessions as well.
      He may be a talented man (to be honest, I rather doubt it), and to be sure he does have an impressive personal charisma, but his deals with the military and the old-guard in the Chinese political class is hardly a sign of strength, but rather of substantial weakness.
      This will not end well

  • China is going to learn, sooner-or-later, that the market economics that have led to its rise will hit a point of diminishing returns unless those economics are reinforced by personal and political liberty for its people.

    The question is how they will learn that lesson … and how much of that education will be at the expense of those 1.3 billion mouths to feed.

  • robin hood in reverse

    Relatively speaking, the US has a $16 Trillion GDP and the EU has a $19 Trillion GDP. $2 Trillion of US currency supports $50 Trillion of overall debt. The EU has around $47 Trillion in Debt. The US Wizard says at least $2 Trillion currency out thin air is needed to create inflation?

    The US and EU Wizards are each collecting around $0.6 Trillion in interest annually. The US has a net worth of around $50 Trillion. The EU is worth around $60 Trillion. The EU and US owe the Chinese around $30 Trillion and China is receiving around $1 Trillion a year in interest.

    The US stock market is worth $19 trillion. The US Wizards own around half the stock market and $15 Trillion of other stuff. We the People own around $9.5 Trillion of stock and $16 Trillion of other stuff. The Japanese have a $6 Trillion GDP, own around $20 Trillion, and owe around $40 Trillion.

    China followed Lincoln’s lead and prints it’s own debt free currency but the confines of China may be no different than the US – $16 Trillion GDP, $50 Trillion in assets, and $50 Trillion in debt. About half the market is a state monopoly that is not paying back around $25 Trillion. The average private company is about 5% of the average state company. 80% of the state owned companies have been closed or merged. The problem with to big to fail is to big to succeed.

    If the dollar, euro, yen, or yuan were to become worthless, the foreign creditors are left holding the bag. The US Wizards destroyed Brooksley Born for saying $700 Trillion of profitable derviatives might be a very bad idea.

    These are interesting times.

  • Two words (or three Chinese characters): Bo Xilai. It is no coincidence that Bo’s trial starts within a week of this “lurch”; Bo found that Mao nostalgia is a powerful force, and nearly used it to climb to the top. Most other leaders – including Xi himself through his family – have direct experience with Mao-era purges and are definitely not enthusiastic with anything other than cosmetic “lurches” when it comes to Maoism.

  • bigfire

    Rule #1 of any dictatorship or oligarchy, maintain control by any means. There is no other rule. The current Chinese system is a oligarchy on a rotation basis. They have to appease to various ideologue. It would appear that time to placate the communist elements is at hand.

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