Xi Jinping at the court of Andrea Alciato

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Is China’s red emperor the most powerful man in the world? The Chinese Communist Party Congress has crowned him for life and recognized him as a dignity equal to Mao Zedong’s.

The Chinese press celebrates him as the father of the homeland of the “new era” of prosperity and “socialist modernization”.

There are dozens of editorials in Western newspapers that tell his personal and political history.

From the death sentence of his father, responsible for the party’s propaganda and his mother – never carried out – purged by the Cultural Revolution, to his brilliant career as governor of Zhejiang as an enemy of corruption.

Xi Jinping’s China since 2013, the year of his coronation, has grown a lot but has lost balance. We observe the disorderly real estate growth, and the demographic collapse.

Think of the paradox of the largest expenditure item of the Chinese PLA (People’s Liberation Army) being the pensions of 57 million veterans and youth unemployment at 20% and the price of shipping a single container from China more expensive by a dozen times, which is worth more than a thousand words on the crisis of globalization.

The management of the Wuhan virus asks us questions about Chinese biotechnological arsenals, attempts at self-sufficiency disguised as a medical lockdown, the flight of capital from Hong Kong, and the roars that sound like sneezing in Taiwan.

Xi coaxed the world, but the world understood that China’s hegemonic will is toxic and cannot be ignored.

In the past, other Chinese leaders had preferred to conceal personal and Caesarean ambitions, accepting the terms of the rotation of offices in the institutions, but not Xi who, once he reached the top of power, decided to give himself three terms, probably eternal until he dies.

The newspapers will talk about Xi’s triumph in Congress and crowds of revelers, about new challenges for China, which wants to be the first economy in the world, but I go back to Aesop and the fairy tale of the donkey carrying an idol.

I choose the Renaissance version of Andrea Alciato, a refined and highly cultured Italian philosopher, because under the stars everything changes. Still, everything remains the same while ambition turns into hubris.

A foolish donkey carried a statue of Isis and had the venerable mysteries on its curved back. So any passer-by reverently worshiped the Goddess, saying pious prayers at the knee, but the donkey believed that so much honor was addressed to himself, swelling himself full of pride, until the stable boy holding him back with a lash said: “You are not the God, donkey, you simply carry the God.”

This analogy describes Xi Jinping perfectly.

Tony Simon

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