What’s the likelihood of that? The new President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, is actively reviving the cult of Mao Tse-Tung that was so destructive of China and of Sino-US relations in the last century, which continue to taint our relationship today, and which poison now is being refreshed.
Early, public symbols of the revival include
- a visit to a village from which Mao attacked Beijing in 1949 and from which Xi vowed that “our red nation will never change color.”
- a visit to a lakeside villa where Mao summered. At the opening of a new exhibition there, Xi declared that the villa should be a center for educating youth about patriotism and revolution. Notably, the exhibition wholly elides the 10s of millions of Chinese butchered by Mao, particularly during the mass starvation he inflicted with his cultural “revolution.”
- echoing Mao, Xi is launching a “rectification” campaign to purge the Communist Party and limit discussion of ideas such as democracy, rule of law, enforcement of the constitution, and other such evils. This is how Mao presaged his cultural revolution.
In a reflection of Mao’s “reeducation” programs, both explicit and through state media, Xi has
- commanded army generals and senior officers to reconnect with the “masses” by serving as privates for 15 days minimum.
- ordered officials to combat the spread of such evils as universal values, press freedom, civil society, and judicial independence.
- through his Communist Party, with its purification in progress, warned officials to combat “dangerous” Western values.
- related to this, officials have been instructed to “cut off at the source channels for disseminating erroneous currents of thought.”
- published attacks on “civil society” and the concept that Party power actually should be subject to constitutional limits.
- had police detain political activists (although this represents no actual change).
Mao was a steadfast enemy of the West and of us in particular. His successor is showing himself to be disinterested in friendship.