- China’s transformation into a ‘Xi state’
- Low expectations for Brussels-Beijing summit
- USA strengthens key industries
- Shortages in Changchun
- Sinolytics.Radar: big plans for EV charging network
- Profile: CD Rev – patriotic red rap for China’s youth
“It’s cold at the top” is the Chinese equivalent of the English saying “It’s lonely at the top”. This is also true for China’s head of state Xi Jinping. In recent years, the 68-year-old has gradually transformed the People’s Republic into a “Xi state”. Be it economy or diplomacy, the leader wants to make all the big decisions himself.
His “Xi Jinping Thought” has long been part of the CP constitution. But anyone who focuses such a claim to power on themselves runs the risk of making serious mistakes, writes Christiane Kuehl. Especially since Xi considers himself a “tool of history”. This has rarely worked out well in human history, especially in China.
On Friday, China and the EU will meet for the first time in two years for a bilateral summit at the highest level. The Ukraine war will be at the top of the agenda for the video meeting, which has been postponed several times by now. That Xi Jinping will finally relent and exert pressure on Russia after this very meeting is highly unlikely, writes Amelie Richter, who spoke with Tim Ruehlig, Research Fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), among others, for her analysis. Nevertheless, the summit will set the course for EU-China relations. In its wake, the lines will be drawn clearer than ever before.
The patriotic hip-hop crew CD Rev from Chengdu, which is supposed to bring China’s youth into line with the party, has long since drawn such a clear line. In their songs, the four rappers mock foreign journalists and spread viral conspiracy theories. China’s government is so pleased that the group was even allowed to perform in an Olympic anthem. Fortunately, this doesn’t bring them into international charts.
Xi’s loneliness at the top
Xi Jinping faces several tough decisions: Does he abandon the zero-covid policy or not? Or, more importantly, what role does China want to play in the Ukraine war? Tough decisions for any government – but even tougher when you have to make them all by yourself. But Xi has put himself in this position. For years, the head of state has made himself indispensable by declaring virtually every topic a matter of the highest order, from economic issues to diplomacy.
At the coming party congress in October, Xi wants to be appointed General Secretary of the CP for a third time so that he will remain in office past 2023. To this end, he had the constitution amended in 2018. The One-party state of China has become the Xi state. Xi smiles from propaganda posters, his slogans are stamped everywhere. He shapes the image of the country and the Party like no Chinese Party leader since Mao.
Experts believe the transformation from a One-party state to personal rule is already well underway. “Nothing important happens in China without Xi’s approval. And everything Xi wants to happen is happening more or less exactly as he wants it,” says Richard McGregor, an Asia-Pacific expert at the Lowy Institute in Sydney. Xi, he said, sees himself as a “tool of history” who has been tasked with returning the Chinese nation to the world stage as an equal. “That is his mission, and he carries it out in line with his convictions.”