Some analysts are nervous when they hear Chinese President Xi Jinping upholding Mao Zedong Thought. Will Xi resume Mao’s policies of class struggle and constant revolution, they wonder.
Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao tried to omit Mao Zedong Thought, but enabled Bo Xilai to rally a vast number of conservatives around to fight against the reformists and obstruct Hu’s further reform, which Xi is able to carry out now.
The fierce power struggle between the conservatives and reformists, and the defeat of Bo, are described in details in the second expanded edition of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements.
I point out in the book that the current core of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Dynasty, Jiang Zemin, made the decision to punish Bo harshly in late September 2012, but he did not deal with the power struggle between the conservatives and reformists.
It was Xi Jinping who used his China dream to rally both the powerful conservatives and reformists around him, and put an end to their fierce power struggle. To win over conservatives, he had to concede to some of their terms.
The term “China Dream” was borrowed from Liu Mingfu, a conservative Maoist PLA senior colonel, who wrote the bestseller China Dream that advocates China’s military rise to surpass the U.S. Hu Jintao banned its reprint due to the book’s Maoist ideas.
Xi exploits the conservatives’ China dream, but has extended its meaning to make it mean the revival of the Chinese nation.
That’s a very long topic. If interested please refer to chapters 13 and 19 of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition.
Here I have to point out that Xi uses Mao’s term, but imbues it with new meaning.
In my book, I describe in details the difference between the three mass lines: CCP’s traditional, Mao’s and Xi Jinping’s mass lines and point out Xi’s wisdom to imbue Maoism with his own idea.
That’s too much to write about here. I have only to point out there is a CCP document on certain historical issues, the tenets of which are stressed by Deng Xiaoping in the recent TV series on De Xiaoping:
- Mao Zedong Thought was developed by the old generation of CCP leaders including Mao, Liu Shaqi, Zhou Enlai, Zhu De, Chen Yun, and others. Mao represented the Thought.
- Mao’s later ideas such as class struggle and constant revolution are wrong. They are negated in the document about the Cultural Revolution, which Mao launched based on those ideas.
- The essence of Mao Zedong Thought is pragmatism, i.e. the doctrine of “Practice is the sole criterion for testing truth.” It is repeated again and again through Deng’s mouth in the TV series.
Therefore, there are no grounds for some analysts’ worry about the revival of Mao’s later ideas of class struggle and constant revolution that have been negated by the CCP itself.
As for whether Xi will become an autocratic despot like Mao, I don’t know. It depends on Xi’s personality, which may change with old age. Anyway, it is possible for a tyrant like Mao to emerge in China’s current system of CCP Dynasty with a core like an emperor, and there is no mechanism to remove such a tyrant if there is no change in the system.
The following is the full text of SCMP’s report on analysts’ views on Xi’s stress of Mao Zedong Thought:
Party must embrace Mao spirit to survive, Xi Jinping quoted as saying
Party papers shed new light on leader’s views about the importance of ‘Great Helmsman’
President Xi Jinping has reiterated the close relationship between the party’s survival and upholding Mao Zedong thought, according to newly released documents collected since the party’s 18th congress in November 2012.
Xi has urged party members to embrace of the “spirit” of Mao – a guiding party doctrine including class struggle and constant revolution to ensure the party’s survival – prompting analysts to say he might turn out as autocratic as the “Great Helmsman”.
In a study course chaired by Xi on January 5 last year, on the topic of maintaining and developing China’s special form of socialism, Xi stressed that an evaluation of Mao was “not just a theoretical issue, but a political question for China and the international community”.
In the collection, published recently, Xi also cites Deng Xiaoping’s affirmation of Mao’s contribution to the party’s development, saying China would fall into chaos if it “totally repudiates Mao thought”.
“Just imagine how our party could be tenable if we abandoned [the spirit] of Comrade Mao Zedong. Our socialistic system … the whole country would fall into chaos”, the president was quoted as saying in one of the eight articles, which have been made public for the first time.
In his speech, according to the article, Xi also called on senior cadres to learn the lessons of the collapse of the former Soviet Union, one of the main ones being that “almost all party members [in the USSR] gave up their ideological thinking”.
Hong Kong-based political commentator Johnny Lau Yui-siu said it was contradictory for Xi to promote Deng and Mao.
“Deng is remembered for his pragmatic style, while Mao launched the Cultural Revolution and a series of violent and political struggles from the 1950s to the 1970s, which still leave painful memories for the Chinese people,” Lau said. “It might make people worry whether Xi will be as dictatorial as Mao, even though he abides by Deng’s legacy of economic reform.”
Professor Jean-Philippe Beja, a senior researcher at the French Centre for Studies on Modern and Contemporary China in Hong Kong, said China’s ideological campaigns had shifted towards the left since Xi came to power nearly two years ago.
“All of Xi’s slogans, including ‘catching big tigers’ and ‘taking the mass line’ that have emerged from the ongoing nationwide anti-graft campaign, originate from Mao,” Beja said, adding that he was worried that China would further restrain political reform and human rights.
“Xi’s political advisers have just adopted old thinking and violent, rough measures to deal with today’s complicated social and political problems arising from the economic development of the past three decades.”
In the new collection of documents, Xi also requests cadres to report changes in their personal lives, including divorce, remarriage, and whether they have sent all their family overseas.
“We will not leave the party in a good position if we discover such information on the internet, then have to rush to confirm with them later,” Xi was quoted as saying at a meeting in January.
He also criticised party officials who had built up special personal relationships, or guanxi, for personal benefit.
“We shouldn’t turn the relationship between party leaders and subordinates into the feudal monarch-minister style,” one article quotes Xi as saying. This also violates Mao’s thinking, he adds.
Xi’s reiteration of Mao’s thinking indicated that he would emulate Mao’s vigorous style to sweep away corruption on the mainland to win public support, Lau said.
“Xi is the second party chief after Jiang Zemin to stress that the party would be overturned if it failed to rein in corrupt officials,” he said. “Jiang failed, but Xi hopes promoting Mao will help him push the anti-graft campaign forward.”Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition Source: SCMP “Party must embrace Mao spirit to survive, Xi Jinping quoted as saying”
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- Mao Is Dead, Long Live Mao – Analysis (eurasiareview.com)
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