Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping’s recent political moves may reveal his ambition to become the totalitarian leader of China for three consecutive terms, or even for life, experts say.
Members of the Chinese regime’s Central Committee, Politburo, and Politburo Standing Committee may be replaced at the 20th National Party Congress, to be held next year. Xi could also be reappointed by Party members for a third term.
Xi previously amended China’s constitution to remove the previous limit of two consecutive terms for the chairman, and he is now seeking to eliminate obstacles to a possible third term, according to experts.
3 Major Political Moves
On March 1, Xi gave a speech at a training class for young and middle-aged cadres at the Central Party School of the CCP in Beijing. It was widely reported by all major Chinese state-run media and is now required study material for all Party members.
Xi’s short talk focused on “struggle,” mentioning the word 14 times and emphasizing that “struggle” is the essence of the CCP. He asked young CCP officials to “dare to fight and be good at fighting.”
He also demanded that the officials “must be loyal to the Party, must be wholehearted and consistent.”
On Feb. 24, the CCP History Study and Education Leading Group issued a notice to study a speech by Xi at a Party history conference a few days earlier, requesting all CCP members integrate their “thoughts and actions” into “the spirit” of Xi’s speech, and to achieve “two safeguarding,” which aims at preserving Xi as the “core” of the CCP.
On Feb. 20, CCP authorities held an unusually high-profile symposium on the 100th anniversary of Hua Guofeng’s birth in Beijing. Hua, who was the short-term successor to Mao Zedong as the CCP’s leader from 1976 to 1978, was removed and replaced by Deng Xiaoping, who overturned Mao’s hardcore communist policies and started the “reform and open up” movement.
High-ranking CCP officials, including two members of the CCP’s Politburo Standing Committee and three Politburo members, attended the meeting. In his speech, Standing Committee member Wang Huning, who is Xi’s top adviser, spoke highly of Hua, saying that he was “loyal to the Party.” Wang cited Mao’s comments on Hua as “telling the truth” and called Mao “an honest man,” while praising Hua for being “the presiding officer who overthrew the Gang of Four.”
The Gang of Four were four major CCP leaders, including Mao’s wife, who enacted the violent Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976 that caused the deaths of tens of millions of people.
Aim of Xi’s Political Moves
Xi’s three major actions were all about maintaining “Xi as the core of the CCP” and paving the way for his continued power at the 20th National Congress in 2022, U.S.-based current affairs commentator Li Yilin told The Epoch Times. Li said that when Xi emphasized “loyal to the Party,” it meant “loyal” to Xi himself.
“He requires CCP officials to be good at fighting, indicating that the CCP’s high-level power struggle is extremely fierce, and he must train those young Party members to fight for him, to ‘struggle’ for him,” Li said.
Li Hengqing, a scholar at the Washington Institute for Information and Strategy in the United States, told The Epoch Times that it is a “life and death battle for Xi Jinping.”
“Either he may be able to achieve his dictator-for-life status, or it may be his ‘Battle of Waterloo,'” Li said, adding that Xi’s political achievements are few, and his means of ensuring that the Party supports him rely on his “anti-corruption” campaign to suppress a large number of Party members who oppose him and to deter his rivals.
Xi’s initiative of learning the CCP’s history actually expresses a need to control the narrative of the Party’s history, eliminate different voices, and unite the Party around “Xi Thought,” consolidating his position as sole leader, according to Hu Ping, a political commentator and honorary editor-in-chief of U.S.-based popular Chinese-language political magazine Beijing Spring, told VOA on March 4.
Wang Juntao, U.S.-based chairman of the China Democracy Party, told VOA that this campaign-style education on CCP history is ideological “brainwashing.”
“After the previous period of power struggle, now Xi has begun to unify their thinking. It’s just like what Mao Zedong did to establish his dictatorship. Mao first launched a series of power struggles in Yan’an, and then started the Yan’an Rectification movement to brainwash them with his ideas,” Wang said.
Wang says the Xi regime may have staged the high-profile commemoration of Hua out of Xi’s desire to reinterpret some of the events in CCP history for his own use. The ideological education and rectification movements may actually be related to a large-scale purge that he’s planning, according to Wang.
Zhang Dun contributed to this report.