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VOA: Desire for “order and authority”, Xi Jinping remakes Chinese society in an all-round way


October 12, 2021 

WASHINGTON— The Communist Party of China has recently carried out severe rectifications in various fields including finance, economy, culture, and media. In the words of the Chinese left, “China is undergoing a profound change.” In addition, the CCP has also intervened in people’s lives in an unprecedented manner. In the face of all this, some people call it the “Second Cultural Revolution.” However, analysts believe that Xi Jinping is not launching the second “Cultural Revolution”. He has carefully constructed the highly totalitarian system of the Chinese Communist Party. His goal is to let the CCP “control” everything. He firmly believes that he is the “son of heaven,” and the Communist Party can help him achieve the goal of the so-called “Chinese Rejuvenation.”

CCP high-level leaning to the left

On October 8, 2021, four major incidents occurred in China: First, the National Development and Reform Commission of China released the “Market Access Negative List (2021 Edition)” on its official website. The negative list added “Prohibited Conducting news and media-related businesses in violation of regulations” imposed comprehensive and detailed restrictions on the participation of non-public capital in news gathering, editing, broadcasting and other businesses. Second, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation imposed a huge fine of up to 3.442 billion yuan on food delivery giant Meituan;

Third, the Shanghai Stock Exchange terminated Lenovo’s application for listing on the Science and Technology Innovation Board. Fourth, Luo Changping, a well-known Chinese media person, was criminally detained and prosecuted for commenting on “Changjin Lake”.

These four events are just the latest examples of China’s recent rectification of the financial, economic, media, and cultural industries. However, Chinese leftist internet writer Li Guangman believes that these four events are events of “significant significance” because they show that “we are undergoing a profound change” and that “it (this change) does not depend on certain people.” , The will of certain interest groups is shifting, and it is changing our society, our thoughts, our concepts and our lives.”

In August, the impact of another article by Li Guangman, “Everyone can feel that a profound change is underway” was even more shocking. Dozens of official media such as the Chinese Communist Party’s official People’s Daily Online, Xinhuanet, CCTV, etc. rarely reposted this article at the same time. In that article, the author Li Guangman cited the CCP’s series of rectification measures on the capital and entertainment circles as an example, and pointed out that “China is undergoing major changes, from the economic, financial, cultural, and political fields. The revolution in China, or it can be said to be a profound revolution.”

The Chinese official media’s collective endorsement of this article emphasizing the “Return of Red, Return of Heroes, Return of Blood” is further worrying about the coming of the “Second Cultural Revolution”. After all, the “Cultural Revolution” 55 years ago was also triggered by an article. On the eve of the “Cultural Revolution”, Yao Wenyuan, who is known as the pen of the Chinese Communist Party, wrote “Comment on the New Historical Drama (Hai Rui Dismissed)” has been regarded as the fuse of the “Cultural Revolution”.

David Bandurski, editor of the “Chinese Media Research Project” of the University of Hong Kong, who has been studying Chinese media for a long time, published an article on the website of the Chinese Media Research Project on October 11, stating that in the 1990s and 2000s, when the media environment was slightly more relaxed, this The article by the Communist Party of China will not be noticed by the Chinese Communist Party’s official media, and will only appear on the website of the leftist “Land of Nothing”. Now, such an article has entered the main position of high-level official public opinion, “at least it shows that China’s high-level politics is leaning to the left.”

Xi Jinping’s desire for “order and authority”

However, political psychologists pointed out that Xi Jinping is not going to launch the second “Cultural Revolution”. For Xi Jinping, who has experienced the chaos of the “Cultural Revolution”, what he fears most is chaos.

Kenneth Dekleva (Kenneth Dekleva) is a psychologist and currently serves as a senior researcher at the George Bush Foundation for US-China Relations. He once served as a psychoanalyst in the US State Department, studying the psychology of foreign leaders, and providing advice on US foreign policy and actions.

He told VOA: “I think Xi Jinping is the same as most high-level Chinese leaders. They are afraid of chaos. Jiang Zemin suppressed Falun Gong in 1999 for the same reason. They know China’s history for thousands of years. A century and a half ago. The history of the’Taiping Heavenly Kingdom’ movement that broke out was sealed in their consciousness, and 30 million people died as a result, China became weaker, and China in the 19th century was dominated and humiliated by foreigners. For Xi Jinping, revival It is the opposite of humiliation, not only for him, but also for the Chinese. I think it is the worry of this kind of chaos that they will not let this happen again after experiencing the’Cultural Revolution’.”

He believes that the CCP hopes to control everything in China in the hands of the CCP, whether it is rectifying the “mother gun” of the entertainment industry or cracking down on private technology companies.

He said: “I think he wants the party to have more control over business and enterprises. This round of rectification of private enterprises has caused these enterprises and China to lose about one trillion US dollars, which is a lot of money. But he is willing to pay the price to make them surrender. I think he wants them to know that this is the rules and the operating environment, the business environment. The private sector can operate, but it will have to accept the stricter control of the party.”

Xia Ming, a political science professor at the City University of New York, told VOA that Xi Jinping desires to control order and authority by himself, because such order and authority can give him a sense of security. He believes that what Xi Jinping wants to establish is not the “Cultural Revolution” system, but a return to the highly totalitarian system in the early days of the Communist Party of China.

He said: “I don’t think Xi Jinping will return to the’Cultural Revolution’, although his approach has the color of the’Cultural Revolution’. The color of the’Cultural Revolution’ is to use the masses to fight against the masses, and factions fight against each other, but Xi Jinping obviously It is not Mao Zedong, he will not use ordinary people to attack the bureaucratic system. Xi Jinping is constructing a totalitarian and autocratic system very finely. What he established is not the “Cultural Revolution” system. What he wants to establish is the “three evils” in the early days of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. , The system of the’five oppositions’ period. His system uses a highly totalitarian approach to suppress the people, rather than using the people to attack the bureaucracy.”

Xia Ming believes that the reason why Xi Jinping admired Mao Zedong’s first 17 years in power (from the establishment of the Chinese Communist Party to the eve of the Cultural Revolution) was because Xi Jinping felt that this was the time when Mao Zedong made his greatest achievements. He said: “He believed that Mao Zedong allowed China to be’unified’ and China was’liberated’. During this period, the power of China has completed a series of major changes, which has promoted China’s progress, and has also given the Chinese people a chance. A sense of gain, land reform, communes, etc… In addition, the cadres were relatively clean during this period. This may be the ideal state of communism for him, the golden age of “not forgetting the original intention”, and the best state of the Communist country. .”

The CCP does not want to cause chaos and panic in China’s society. It can also be seen from the selective publication of Li Guangman’s articles by the official media. Li Guangman in his “Everyone can feel that a profound change is underway!” “The last paragraph of the article reads, “Now everyone of us can feel that Wanjun Thunder is rolling in. A profound social change has begun. Not only the capital circle, not only the entertainment circle, but the entire society Being baptized by this storm.” This paragraph has been deleted in the reprints of major official media.

At “critical moments”, the CCP cannot tolerate chaos

Kerry Brown, director of the Institute of China Studies at King’s College London and a senior researcher on the Asia-Pacific Program at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, believes that Xi Jinping and the CCP have strengthened control and discipline management at this time because Xi Jinping and his allies believe that the Chinese nation The “critical moment” of the revival is approaching, and they cannot tolerate “out of control”.

He said: “Because the Communist Party knows this is a critical moment, and it is a critical moment when China is preparing to become the world’s number one economy. This is their goal. They now have the potential to become the most influential country in the world. They are now in the middle. A lot of things are happening in income countries. This is the moment when China may truly rejuvenate and become a powerful country. If something goes wrong, everything will be in vain. (Communist Party) 100 or 70 years of hard work will Scrapped. The risk is too great. I think this is why they are now aggressively rectifying. The critical moment for China’s rejuvenation is coming. They are almost there, their peak moment, so they must strengthen control and discipline. …… .”

The Communist Party of China first put forward the “two centenary” goals in 1997: first, to build China into a well-off society in 100 years after the founding of the Communist Party of China; second, to complete it in 100 years after the founding of the People’s Republic of China A prosperous, strong, democratic, civilized, harmonious and beautiful modern socialist country. In July 2021, Xi Jinping has announced that China has built a “well-off society” in an all-round way.

Brown said that the CCP must ensure that no one considers themselves larger and more important than the CCP and politicians, and ensure their loyalty.

Xi Jinping considers himself “the chosen son of heaven”, but his knowledge is limited

Even so, Xi Jinping, who was severely impacted by the totalitarian CCP, used the same method to rectify and govern China, which puzzled many people.

Analysts pointed out that what Xi Jinping did is precisely related to Xi Jinping’s experience during the Cultural Revolution.

Brown of King’s College London said: “(Xi Jinping’s) psychology is probably that he thinks he is a survivor… Some people did not survive, but they survived and they were selected. I think Xi Jinping believes in Mao. The elite family of the era may still have power, and he may have a power that he deserves. The’Cultural Revolution’ is a bit like a test to him, a kind of proof. He did it. He joined the party after ten attempts. All All this proves that this is an arrangement of fate, and his position today is what he deserves.”

Psychologist De Klerva believes that Xi Jinping’s identification with the perpetrator (commonly known as Stockholm syndrome) is not unusual in psychology.

He said: “There is a theory in psychology that after experiencing extraordinary events, as Freud described, some people will identify with the perpetrator. This is an unconscious phenomenon. Xi Jinping’s The situation is that even if he and his family have suffered a lot because of the Cultural Revolution, he agrees with the party. He can overcome this and become a member of the party. This is not uncommon in organizations. People in organizations Suffering, becoming part of their growth, undergoing some changes, but becoming more resilient and optimistic.”

Xia Ming, a political science professor at the City University of New York, believes that Xi Jinping’s young experience–he is an “egg under the red flag”–has also limited his perception, and Mao Zedong has become his only target of imitation.

He said: “Just like Li Rui (a former expert on the history of the Chinese Communist Party and a former senior official of the Chinese Communist Party) said, he is at the elementary and middle school level, even though he likes to endorse the list…the object he imitated is actually Mao Zedong. In fact, the hero imitated was Mao Zedong. , This is also the Stockholm syndrome: whoever persecutes him, he will find that this is very remarkable, because you have so much power, you can do whatever you want. Therefore, he will imitate Mao Zedong instead. Therefore, we see him today. He has done a lot of things, with the taste of the’Cultural Revolution’. I call him the’Three Anti-Five Anti’, the’Landlord’ and the’Land Reform’. His storage is only these things.”

Dr. Joseph Torigian, an associate professor at the School of International Relations at American University, also believes that Xi Jinping’s early experience had a great influence on his decision-making. He pointed out in an article that if you change someone, or if Xi Jinping has not had such an experience, maybe he will take a different approach to enhance China’s national power. For example, by supporting collective leadership and inner-party democracy to promote stability, empowering the media and strengthening the rule of law to combat corruption, giving the people more freedom, and implementing necessary reforms to ensure the long-term strong growth of the Chinese economy.

Xia Ming of the City University of New York emphasized that Xi Jinping’s current actions are “passively responding to various crises.” He said that Xi Jinping has taken over a “stumble” since he came to power, and he is facing a crisis of overwhelming power, including the excessive division of high-level power during Hu Jintao’s period, and the “Kowloon governing waters”; economic growth has stalled; Increased mentality; contradictions in population structure, political and economic oligarchy, etc.

Putting the party at the center is a “gamble” by Xi Jinping and his allies

However, the psychologist and political psychologist De Klerva believes that for Xi Jinping, this is also a choice related to his own interests. Because Xi Jinping believes that “the party is the only tool that can help him achieve his goals, even though he has suffered.”

Professor Brown of King’s College London believes that not only Xi Jinping, but Xi Jinping’s allies in the Communist Party also believe that under the current complex political environment and the various problems brought about by reforms, the Communist Party may be the only hope and theirs. A “big gamble”.

He said: “In this case, if you have nothing to coordinate and control and direct, the situation will quickly get out of control. I think Xi Jinping’s colleagues see the chaos in the United States and Europe, and they don’t want that. They don’t want that. I want to make a gamble, let the party control everything, lead everything, and the country will unify information to stop instability, loss of control and chaos.”

He pointed out that in order for the Communist Party of China to gain more recognition from the Chinese people, the Communist Party also ensures that everything is protected by strong nationalism.

He said: “The people are committed to this not because they like the Communist Party, but because they like the idea of ​​a strong country. If the Communist Party supports a strong country, they will support the Communist Party. That’s the logic they did. “

Xi Jinping’s people misjudge the United States and the West

Xia Ming of the City University of New York believes that Xi Jinping and the CCP leadership made this choice because they lacked a deeper understanding of Western democracy. Xia Ming was a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China and a student of Wang Huning, a major political theorist. He believes that even if Xi Jinping is surrounded by people like Wang Huning and Liu He who have studied in the United States and the West, these people have a glimpse of American society.

Wang Huning visited the United States and conducted academic exchanges from 1988 to 1989, about half a year. After returning to China, he observed a number of appearances and furnishings of the United States, and wrote the book “America Against the United States”, exposing his disappointment with American democracy and then criticizing the American system. On January 6, 2021, just before and after the Capitol Hill incident, Wang Huning’s old book suddenly became popular in China. Many Chinese believed that Wang Huning’s judgment on the United States was fulfilled.

Xia Ming believed that Wang Huning did not really understand the United States and its spirit at all.

He said: “Wang Huning and the others are basically’indigenous steelmaking’ and they are self-taught. They don’t have a higher mentor to guide him how to read, how to understand the relationship between the various factions, their context, and the relationship between them. Conflict, their inheritance, all of which he didn’t understand. Just like Hong Xiuquan, he took a few words and called himself the Son of God.”

Xia Ming believes that the true power and wealth of the United States lies outside New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston and other metropolises, and lies in the low-key and non-flaunting culture of Americans.

Except for the Capitol Hill riots in January 2021, the “Black Life is Fate” movement in the United States, and even President Trump’s 2016 coming to power have been regarded by the Chinese media as an example of the decline of the American political system and American democracy.

Xia Ming of the City University of New York also pointed out that another important reason why Xi Jinping can’t see a better way to deal with China’s problems is that many Chinese intellectuals have lost their character and cannot think independently, let alone propose to leaders. The new independent perspective allows leaders to reflect.

The risks of the Xi Jinping model

Brown, director of the Institute of China Studies at King’s College London, believes that although Xi Jinping thinks he is saving the party and the country, it is precisely he himself that may bring great risks to China.

He said: “This will bring internal opposition. Everything is based on Xi Jinping’s leadership. If he gets sick and can’t operate normally, everything will become chaotic. This is a very risky strategy and a very risky situation. .”

The well-known British political commentator Gideon Rachman directly pointed out in the Financial Times on September 13 that “Xi Jinping’s personality cult harms China”. He believes that Xi Jinping engages in a cult of personality, requires everyone to study “learning thinking”, restricts primary school students’ English learning, discourages entrepreneurs, and hinders the vitality of private enterprises, causing fear in the entire society and posing great harm to Chinese society.

He said that Xi Jinping will be portrayed as a superb “good emperor” and it will be very difficult for anyone to openly point out mistakes. The article pointed out that in a country like China without independent judiciary, democratic elections, and free media, strongman worship is not substantively restricted. This is why Xi Jinping is a great harm to China.

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