Written by Prakriti Panwar, a grade 12 student
Xi Jinping is the President of the People’s Republic of China and the founder of ‘Xi Jinping Thought,’ an ideology that forms the basis of how China is governed presently.
About Xi Jinping’s life
Xi Jinping was born in 1953 to Xi Zhongxun, in Beijing, China. Xi Zhongxun, a Chinese communist revolutionary was one of the founding fathers of the Communist Party (which is based on the ideology of common ownership of resources). Xi Zhongxun was removed from the party in 1962, and Xi Jinping was sent to Liangjiahe for “re- education and hard labour” at the age of 15.
Owing to his father’s history, Xi Jinping initially found it difficult to join the communist party. But once he was admitted in 1974, he rose through the ranks, eventually landing senior roles. Throughout his political career, he has held positions such as the acting governor, and later governor, of Fujian, acting governor and party secretary of the Zhejiang province, the party secretary of Shanghai and many more. Finally, in 2012, he was chosen to be the president.
The basis of Xi Jinping’s ideologies are socialism and communism, so let’s gain some insight into what exactly they mean first. In short, socialism prefers public ownership of property and natural resources rather than private ownership. It is based on the belief system that society exists as a whole, and not in isolation.
Communism also pretty much means the same, but the difference between the two lies in the way they are implemented. Communism often establishes its aims through an authoritarian form and socialism, on the other hand, tends to be relatively democratic.
Xi Jinping has channelled these two ideologies into the ‘Xi Jinping Thought’
More about the ‘Xi Jinping Thought’
In March 2018, the ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ was officially added to the Preamble of China’s constitution. This was quite significant, considering that an entire ‘political thought’ of his has been enshrined in the party’s constitution. It lays emphasis on the rule of law (meaning that all citizens are equal in the eyes of the law) and on the fact that the development and wellbeing of individuals is the main goal of development and a “peaceful international environment.”
However, in 2018 itself, the National People’s Congress amended the article and added “The defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the Communist Party of China,” thus highlighting the country’s emphasis on the single-party system. This was quite contradictory to Xi Jinping’s point in his manifesto about people being “the masters of their country.”
In short, Xi Jinping wants to make “China great again” through certain specific systems such as “socialism through Chinese characteristics”
China under Xi Jinping
As soon as he was elected, Xi Jinping reverted to “personalistic leadership.” He did not promote a successor in training in 2017, and by 2018 the two-term limit for a president to be elected was removed, indicating that he could be the president indefinitely.
In 2016, he was also given the title of “core leader,” which is a big deal considering that it has previously been given to influential leaders such as Mao Zedong.
One of Xi Jinping’s most prominent campaigns has been the anti-corruption campaign. By the end of 2017, around one million corrupt officials had been exposed and punished. Many of these were Xi Jinping’s political opponents, and this further cleared his competition and increased his stature.
Xi Jinping’s “Chinese Dream,” experts say, ultimately wishes to establish China as a dominant global power. Some citizens see it in a positive light and believe that the Chinese dream is simply being good citizens, others see it in a more negative light by considering it as a sly “propaganda campaign.”
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