Xi and the CCP
With 100 years of the Chinese Communist Party, its President is looking to tighten his grip over the one party state.
The CCP is the most powerful, and successful, political party in the world. It has something like more than 90 million members and has ruled China since it won the civil war in 1949.
Since that time, the CCP has forcibly suppressed its citizenry and unleashed internal violence on an industrial level.
Xi has tapped into the power of communist ideology.
“I will be loyal to the party, work hard and fight for communism throughout my life,” Xi declared, and the others followed in unison. “I am ready at all times to sacrifice my all for the party and the people and I will never betray the party.”
In the ninth year of his presidency, Xi has amassed more powers than either of his two immediate predecessors, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, and he shows no sign of stepping down after a decade, or two five-year terms, as Hu and Jiang did.
Instead, Xi has amended the constitution to remove the two-term limit, allowing him to rule for life. Experts believe that he plans to rule for at least another decade, well into his late seventies.
His claim to power is not unquestioned, however. Puncturing the facade of unity was Cai Xia, a former professor of the Central Party School, who called Xi a “mafia boss” and the party under his rule a “political zombie”. She went into exile in America in 2019 before she was stripped of her party membership and attacked for smearing party and state leaders.
Wen Jiabao, a former prime minister, was censored this year after he, in a eulogy for his late mother, wrote that “China should be a country full of fairness and justice, where there will always be respect for the human heart, humanity and human nature”.
Now with the centennial celebrations Xi is promoting himself, consolidating powers and further establishing his leadership within the party.
Xi, the son of a communist revolutionary, came into power in 2012, a year of political drama and the spectacular fall of his rival, Bo Xilai, also the son of a senior Communist Party official. Xi swiftly consolidated his power base by launching a sweeping anti-corruption campaign that not only removed his political challengers but also won him the public’s endorsement.
The history of communist China from 1949 to 1979 was astoundingly turbulent and bloody. The party briefly encouraged open criticism in the Hundred Flowers campaign in 1957 but then brutally crushed all its critics in the Anti-Rightist campaign that followed straight after, and killed probably millions of people.Mao then implemented the Great Leap Forward, which was supposed to make China self-reliant and truly communist but led instead to the Great Famine, which killed tens of millions of people. And then, partly in a power struggle within the leadership, but also partly to try to bring the party back to its revolutionary roots, Mao unleashed the Cultural Revolution from 1966 for 10 years in which, again, tens of millions died, starved, were killed or just generally persecuted.
Xi, though he suffered in the Cultural Revolution, is devoted to Mao, making sure Mao stands high as a hero of modern China. Mao, Xi and other communist leaders are almost deities, like the emperors of ancient Rome. Modern communist leaders typically acknowledge the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution were mistakes, but see them as part of “strenuous experimentation” (which cost millions of lives).
Now, as the party assesses the past 100 years, Xi is consolidating his place in history.