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China: Looking at Xi Jinping, possible future ruler

No shortage of congratulatory mob comments [zh] are to be found following the news last week of Xi Jinping‘s appointment as vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, but not much else.

Even Sima Nan, voice of the establishment sensibility, had his blog post on Xi's upgrade harmonized. As an indication of some of the hopes and aspirations already being projected onto Xi, it reads:



The appointment of Xi Jinping to vice chairman of the Central Military Commission is an indication of the healthy stability of politics in China, as well as an indication that, for the foreseeable future, China's development will continue according to a fixed Chinese model or be rolled out based on China's experiences; further, it is an indication that our current political system which follows the principle of keeping the military under the control of The Party will also not change. And, it indicates that certain persons, having been trying to peddle off that ‘universal values’ racket all these years, have gained zero traction among China's highest decision-makers and their successors. For those dreaming about containing China, those forces demonizing China, [Xi's appointment] is terrifying news.

I want to emphasize, the Chinese people want to build confidence in their own cultural information and political system, and the positive information coming out of the 17th Central Committee's fifth plenary session leaves us resolute with confidence in our culture and political system. Our political system is developing, and our civilization and society are advancing; this transition in China's highest powers is the start of a new chapter.

Going further down that road, Maoists look at Xi and see his red-bred roots, and Xi's drunken stunt in Mexico last year has won over the nationalists, no doubt useful allies for the future battle against universal values, noted in this piece from well-known Party economist Zhang Hongliang, ‘China finally has a leader who's tough on foreigners‘:


Last year, Xi Jinping’ scathing attack against those “foreigners who have eaten their fill and have nothing better to do” while on a visit to Latin America surely came as a reassurance to all those Chinese people who for many years have been keeping their frustration pent up inside. Yet before people had a chance to finish exhaling in relief, the speech and video of it all got deleted, yet again proving true that one fundamental judgment which we've been firmly emphasizing all along, that China's media and financial sector long ago grew beyond the Party Central Committee's control, and are under complete control by America and China's universal values camp.


Many people fail to grasp this point, instead always taking a metaphysical view, looking at the situation in terms of job hierarchy, failing to recognize the formidable strength of the universal values camp, which represents foreign capital syndicates, domestic corruption syndicates and comprador syndicates. It could even be said that the current strength of China's universal values camp even far surpasses that of the bureaucracy syndicate on the eve of the Cultural Revolution, which, with People's Daily then under its control, even dared refuse to publish articles by Chairman Mao, at a time when Chairman's Mao's supreme position in the hearts and minds of the entire country was second to none. With the entire nation still cheering “long live Chairman Mao”, with Chairman Mao then the chairman of the Party Central Committee and Central Military Commission, they still dared to censor Chairman Mao's writings. Today, if a national vice chairman's speech can be deleted, what difference can job hierarchy possibly make? The reason vice chairman Xi Jinping's attack on “foreigners who have eaten their fill and have nothing better to do” got deleted is because it violated the interests of the American capitalist syndicate and the interests of domestic comprador syndicates who rely American forces. This is also part of the reason that vice chairman Xi Jinping's speech received was welcomed by the people.

Xi is also well on his way toward building his own Marxist theory legacy, with Four Haves [zh], Six Hopes and Two Inconsistencies. He even picks up where Wen will leave off, discussed here by agricultural law blogger The Cultivater:


Judging from results, the address given at the Central Party School on September 1 to mark the opening of the winter semester by the soon-to-be anointed fifth-gen leader of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping, and his emphasis on his view on power, that power is bestowed by the people and to be used for them, could be seen as an echo in Wen Jiabao's movement pushing for thought liberation. It should be clear that the movement for thought liberation brought about by the nationwide discussion over criterion for testing truth which began in May 1978 has successfully pushed China along its path of reform and opening up over the past thirty years. If the movement for new thought liberation currently headed by Wen Jiabao can truly be allowed to come to fruition, this will drive China's development for the next 100, or possibly 500, years. And only if so will China face the possibility of taking its place alongside America as one of the world's greatest nations.

Caijing blogger Simon Zhou (西蒙周) has also taken a look at Xi's much-discussed Central Party School address, finding one particular nuance in the language used subtle, but highly significant:



At the end of 2002, the newly-appointed general secretary of the Communist Party of China Hu Jintao, raised what has been called the new three people's principles: ‘exercising power for the people, showing concern for them and working for their interests’. In comparison, Xi Jinping's new theory has effectively added to the part of the new three people's principles regarding ‘exercising power for the people’ the premise that ‘power is bestowed by the people’. This is a highly crucial premise! The people are the masters of the country, the rulers must seek authorization from the people, and the government and leaders must be selected by the people, which is none other than the root of constitutional democracy, As early as 2003, at the same time that the late former CCP central propaganda department chief Zhu Houze was reaffirming “the new three people's principles”, he was also emphasizing the need for an additional line, “power is conferred by the people”. Unfortunately, Zhu Houze's suggestion for such a premise was not adopted.

Now, fifth-gen leader Xi Jinping has unambiguously brought forth the premise that “power is bestowed by the people”, a subtle but huge step, but one which in fact was advocated for by Zhu Houze, with the meanings of “confer” and “bestow” being relatively similar. In the text of his address, Xi Jinping merely emphasizes that “power is bestowed by the people” demonstrates that which is the root source and foundation of power, and he provides no deeper analysis. While it was just a couple lines to this effect, it does nonetheless prove that Xi is considering the problem of the ruling party's legitimacy and indicates that the day when the Communist Party of China launches its political reforms cannot be too far off.

Xi Jinping and company on a visit to a Buddhist temple in Zhejiang province in 2003, leaving the blogging monk who took this photo impressed with Xi's knowledge of Buddhism and willingness to offer up some incense.

A perfect leader for a free market authoritarian system? Yazhou Zhoukan reporter Wu Muluan looks back at Xi's years as head both of coastal Fujian and Zhejiang provinces:


If one takes the view that the part of Xi Jinping's career spent in Fujian province influenced his style of conduct, then the best embodiment of his political experience in Zhejiang province can be seen in his administrative conduct. In the early 1990s, Zhejiang's economy lagged far behind Fujian's. However, the overall competitiveness of Zhejiang's economy today ranks only behind Shanghai, Beijing and the provinces of Guangdong and Jiangsu. Zhejiang's most well-known characteristic is its private enterprise. In the 2007 list of the top 500 companies in China, 203 of those were from Zhejiang, nearly a hundred more than were from Jiangsu province, making it the top province on the mainland. And Zhejiang's most well-known economic approach is the Wenzhou model. In the process of China's thirty years of reforms, Wenzhou's prominence has never declined, even if it was known initially for its counterfeit goods. Following the ruling logic of Communist Party of China officials of the past, areas in transition like this needed strong medicine, and the simplest approach was rectification and widespread shutting down of enterprise. But the Zhejiang approach to handling things was different, and the market was allowed to adjust spontaneously and moderate medicine was prescribed. Academics attribute this to Xi Jinping's ‘laissez’ private sector policies and ‘hands-off’ administrative approach. During his time in Zhejiang, Xi himself expressed approval of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations.

In 2007, former Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Kuan Yew made headlines when he compared Xi to Nelson Mandela; several media dug up that story this week and comments on this Phoenix article include some of the few of any substance to be found:


dylw5493: Old habits die hard! Xi is taking over one of the most extremely corrupt bureaucracies in history.

晓壬武:李光耀局外人根本不懂,当时知青下乡的重要性。更不可拿习近平跟曼德拉相比习的下乡是对本人的磨练,曼德拉是政治迫害是完全不同的两种性质。这种貌似长者的人物 坦率讲居心叵测。

Xiao Renwu: Lee Kuan Yew is an outsider and is clueless about the importance the down to the countryside movement had. You definitely can't compare Xi Jinping to Mandela; Xi was sent to the countryside, it was about his own temperance, and what Mandela faced was political persecution, these are two completely different natures. To be honest, these people who come off like elders, they have ulterior motives.


Judge 2012: I hope the next round of leaders will be able to make further gains than the current leadership toward implementing political system reforms, improving the standard of living and punishing corruption. The common folk need fairness and justice.


LL5096: Xi Zhongxun was an outstanding member of the Communist Party of China, a great Communist soldier, a preeminent proletarian revolutionary, and an excellent leader in political work for our Party and Army, one of the top leaders and creators of the Shanxi-Gansu region revolutionary camp. His sole goal in life was to uphold principles, defend his position, strive for the greater good, and for that he was praised by Mao Zedong five times.
I hope you learn from your father!


Cellphone user: I hope Chairman Xi won't disappoint us too much! Fighting corruption is the most important!


Jiangsu Jurong: Xi's just okay! Even though Mr. Lee Kuan Yew is the founding father of Singapore, his conduct could use some work!


BTBKW: Lee Kuan Yew's just a slick old politician who doesn't want to get left out


wmy702: China's hope lies with Xi Jinping

Does Xi offer hope for long-awaited reforms to the political system, a signal on which many expected would come out of the the Central Committee plenary earlier this month? Writing on that is military affairs blogger and veteran Liu Jun:


Now, reforms to China's political system is on the table for discussion, and the road is full-out being paved for the next round of leaders; speaking with regard to military affairs, China's military strength belongs to the Communist Party of China which, no matter how many changes are made, will never give up the notion of ‘commanding the gun'; the Party's key leaders are also commanders-in-chief of the military, and judging from this meeting of Party representatives, Xi Jinping stands to become the next Chairman of the Central Military Commission.

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