Monday, 29 September 2014

CHINESE PRESIDENT URGES TO EMBRACE 'SPIRIT OF MAO' AND CLASS STRUGGLE


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'

[SCMP]

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."

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