In an Opinion piece in Radio Free Asia (October 22),  US-based 'Tiananmen democracy protestor' Wang Dan outlined how the CCP CC was flouting its own decision of October 20, 1980, which explicitly stated: “Portraits of the current Communist Party leader are forbidden to be displayed in public, no personality cult will be tolerated.” Clarifying that this was originally a just decision, arising from Chairman Mao’s personality cult during the 1966-76 “Cultural Revolution”, he said Post-Mao leaders Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin, and Hu Jintao – although they worked hard to establish their own authority – maintained scruples and did not pursue personality cults for themselves. However, since Xi Jinping took power in 2012, a personality cult has gradually re-emerged within the Communist Party. All kinds of pledges of loyalty and flattery of Xi Jinping have become prevalent in officialdom. Consequent to Xi Jinping’s prestige taking a hit due to the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, the CCP’s propaganda apparatus has begun a new wave of activism to promote his "personality worship". In this context Wang Dan pointed to a joint petition circulated in October on the Internet by Wang Zhongwei, Communist Party Secretary of the Counselor’s Office of the State Council, Zheng Yongnian, a Professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Shen Genlin, President of the Nanyang Technological University Alumni Association, petitioning to have Tsinghua University renamed as the Xi Jinping University. He said though the authenticity of this petition has yet to be confirmed, the three individuals have not denied authorship. Wang Dan opined that in view of the close relationship between Wang Zhongwei, Zheng Yongnian, and high-level Communist Party leaders, it is unlikely they initiated it entirely independently and it is very likely that they obtained 'private' instruction from relevant Communist Party agencies to float such a trial balloon. He quoted foreign news reports to say the CCP  is preparing to elevate so-called “Xi Jinping Thought” to the same level as “Mao Zedong Thought” and include it in the fourteenth Five-Year Plan. He quoted Qian Gang, Director of the Chinese Media Research Program of the Center for Journalism and Media Research at the University of Hong Kong, as saying that since 2018 the official media has mentioned “Xi Jinping Thought” no less than 20 times in the context of economic management, military reform, media control and the arts. He said that reports have mentioned that promotion of “Xi Jinping Thought” as a guiding principle in various fields in China was the main content of discussion at the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party [held October 26-29, 2020]. He assessed that, if these reports are true, then Xi Jinping’s personality cult will form the focus of a new wave of Communist Party propaganda.

(Comment: Xi Jinping was once a student at Tsinghua University.)

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map | Email Us
Centre for China Analysis and Strategy, A-50, Second Floor, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi-110057
Tel: 011 41017353