It is said that strong civilisational cultures cannot be defeated by external forces. If the downfall comes, it comes from within. The end of the Chinese Communist Party is called by none other than Xi Jinping who is all set to confer on himself the title of “Chairman” and equal the status of Mao Zedong.
Despite being a Princeling (descendants of the top party leaders of the past) himself, Jinping had been a victim of the brutal cultural revolution initiated by Mao. From being punished to do the job of a farmer, divorce and marrying second time with a famous singer cum Major General Peng Liyuan, his life has been full of drama.
His rise to power is a story in itself. When you don’t have a democratic process of elections, all you are left with is a power struggle within the party. While countries of the World are irritated by the deceptive, unpredictable and almost nauseating silent behaviour of successive Chinese governments, one needs to know that the process of reaching the top office requires silence, keeping opinions secret and being non-vocal on almost everything until the position is reached.
Up until the 19th Communist Party Congress, the aspiring dictator was implementing all the moves required to cancel out the collective leadership formulas set in the party after the violence and chaos of Mao Zedong’s authoritarian regime. Jinping was planning to flaunt Doklam territory capture at the 19th Congress in 2017. Delhi failed his plan. Jinping went on with non-declaration of his successor and removal of two term limits for his position, both of which were set as a coordinated CCP governance style for China. He promised making China poverty-free by 2020 at the Congress.
During Xi’s 205 minutes long speech at the 19th Congress, Jiang Zemin went asleep and looked at his watch several times, took out a magnifying lens to read Jinping’s material, while Premier Li Keqiang who was also a candidate with Jinping five years back appeared visibly uneasy. Rumours are Li Keqiang had to tender an apology to Comrade Xi for going vocal on poverty figures this year. Jinping is driving China towards an “internal cycle”, a hint he gave for a closed economy style like that of Mao, soon expecting a blanket economic blockade by the World over Corona spread. Li Keqiang was anointed Premier five years back given his economics qualification. He recently gave a call on street-vendor model for growth. The very month saw endless articles by the Chinese media against that model and actions against vendors too in several towns.
Ever since Xi came to power, he started an anti-corruption drive for targeting the “Tigers, Foxes and the Flies” in the party. China has a very unique corruption-growth model because the state handles the resources. This means that the CCP rushes to release all the factors of production to the private players at the earliest to take a cut in profits. So, there is no “Private” Chinese company in that literal sense. Hence, it is very handy to slap corruption charges by the leader in power and thousands are being jailed. Jinping is also making a reverse use of the Annual Beidaihe Summit which was designed for elders of the party to reign in and question the young in power. He now selects which faction and leaders to target from this summit. He got many populists removed from powerful positions in the party. He picked members in the powerful politburo of the party in such a fashion that no one can replace him by the end of his second term in 2022 due to age factor as per the pre-set terms.
As per the system, members of the Politburo standing committee can only move to the top positions. Again, as per age and serving criteria only two possibilities of Xi’s replacement in 2022 from the Politboro show up,, Sun Zhengcai & Hu Chunhua. Sun was removed under corruption charges and Hu Chunhua is serving right now as Vice Premier. So, it all looks as a set up for no replacement possibility at the end of his second term in 2022. He picked up an academician Wang Huning in the Politburo Standing Committe. It is revealed that Wang is the person who is the concept-man behind the Xi Jinping Thought. Mao gave his Thought for Chinese governance. Deng Xiaoping gave his Theory, while Jiang Zemin gave ‘The Three Represents’ theory. Hu Jintao gave the Scientific Development Concept.
What is important to note here is that in China, Thought is considered above Theory and Concepts. And Jinping got The Xi Jinping Thought incorporated into the party charter while he is still in power, which in itself is a big symbolic move. The official mouthpieces and media houses dedicate special webpages for Jinping related updates. There are quiz contests and TV shows which run on Jinping’s life-related knowledge among people. Cartoon character like Winnie the Pooh was banned over western jokes on him. The letter ‘n’ was banned in China for a while as it was used to slander him saying he will rule for n number of years.
After taking over complete control over the three forces of the Chinese PLA, he resorted to several and abrupt transfers action. There are recent reports of mass resignations from a nuclear facility. The forces are deployed almost at all borders and are directed to act belligerent with all neighbours. About 70% of the Chinese PLA consist of single child of their parents. With zero war experiences and the inherent limitation of a single child naturally considered pampered and not being fit for the army job, the PLA was reformed. And Jinping is now testing the efficiency of his reforms at all borders and in the SCS region. Keeping the powerful generals busy on border tasks is important for his power capture. In a possibility of a full spectrum war scenario, there is a fear that the parents of the single child army men may implode the country from within. It is important to note that the entire PLA consists of Communist party members.
From face-recognition and Applications based surveillance, points-based public benefits allocations to highest censorship of internet freedom and persecution of Uighurs, China has it all. Several courses focus on communism and few go to the extent of “love the CCP” as goal of the subject in education. The latest corona spread also acts as a warning to any revolutionary thought creeping in, especially in education hubs like Wuhan. The Country is facing severe scarcity of food, women of marriage age and economic crisis. Seems like the buffer safety rogue states of North Korea & Pakistan makes the Chinese regime feel better comparatively. People are losing hope and also abandoning the Hukou registrations for opportunities in urban China which is astonishing. The reversal of single child policy came too late. As a result, by 2029 China will face a severe crisis of one bread earner financially bearing the costs of two parents and four grandparents in many families in addition to not getting a woman to marry.
China went too early in its belligerence in the SCS region and probably too late at the India borders. Future generations of India stand poisoned with Chinese enmity because of its actions. It has definitely lost a big consumer market for a long time to come. The fool cards like BRI & blank cheque, debt-trap diplomacy has backfired as the citizens of the host countries later hate the coercive takeover by debt to equity gradually of their markets, women, lands, ports, schools, newspapers and government policies. Top all of this with the corona spread, negligence or bio-warfare be that as it may. Wang Yi has rushed to Europe because it is the only geography which perceives China as a big power and has massive stake of investments in China.
The newfound dictator has finished off the working set-up of the Communist Party. And as the economic decoupling gathers steam later, the CCP members will feel the brunt directly as countries ban them, their children, investments and travel. The losses of exports and overseas profits of businesses will make it stare at massive unemployment back home. Technology Research and Development will be hit hard because investments always follow the social optimum of demand of the end product. This also means that the corruption cut earned by the prominent leaders of the party will also end. Perhaps, one man has managed to earn a lot of attention. China’s fate now hangs in what I call the ‘Governance by Crisis’model. Remember, in rogue regimes leaders come like Gods, go like dogs!
Ankit Shah. A South-Asia Security & Foreign Policy Analyst, PhD scholar and Past Academic & Research Associate of IIM Ahmedabad. Follow his twitter handle @ankitatIIMA.
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