Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Ideological Contradictions

Who is Xi Jinping and where does he want to take China?
Chinese President Xi Jinping is a mercurial character. His actions and words these days are building a more interesting picture of the kind of leader he is, and sadly, it's one that's not for the masses but the Party.

Earlier this week he gave a speech to a national conference on ideology and propaganda in Beijing, that was attended by top central and regional party ideology officials, media censors and regulators.

Xi is increasingly referring to Maoist thought and calling for a tightening of media, and greater use of propaganda.

In his speech Xi said ideology should ensure the "correct political direction" be followed for major issues involving political principles, but did not elaborate further. He also said party members should firmly stick to their belief in Marxism and communism.

Ideology, Xi said, was "an extremely important job for the party". Those involved in propaganda and ideology should maintain the correct political stance and promote key decisions by the Central Committee, he said.

Because China was facing unprecedented challenges, Xi said propaganda departments should "consolidate and strengthen mainstream thinking and opinion... to spread the positive energy and thus arouse the whole society to unify and work together".

More specifically, Xi said one important principle of propaganda and ideology is to adhere to "unity, stability and encouragement", and to carry out "positive reporting".

There is also a memo going around, known as Document No. 9, listing the seven perils that could lead to the downfall of the Party. They include: "Western constitutional democracy"; promoting "universal values" of human rights, Western-inspired ideas of a free press and civic participation, pro-market "neo-liberalism", and "nihilistic" criticisms of the Party's past.

It feels like Xi is continuing where Hu Jintao left off, focusing on ideology in the hopes of getting everyone focused on party line rather than rising housing prices, corruption and employment.

Does everyone turn to Mao Zedong thought when things are going off the rails?

Xi and the Party are trying go drag China backwards as its businesses, and particularly new generation are sprinting towards the future.

But perhaps what we find most ironic is that Xi's daughter continues to study in the United States -- fully exposed to Western ideology and values of freedom of speech, liberty, congregation and so on.

Surely we are not the only people to point out this hypocritical stance.

Or is Xi doing this to get the extreme leftists on his side to build consensus and then start doing things his way?

We can't find out soon enough.

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