Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Follow the leader

How many more groups does President Xi have to remind that he's in charge?

Xi Jinping orders army to ‘unswervingly follow Communist party leadership’
Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has presided over a spectacular display of military and political might, ordering members of his 2.3 million-strong armed forces to “unswervingly follow the absolute leadership of the Communist party of China”.
Xi Jinping

Xi donned camouflage fatigues for the hour-long Sunday morning parade, which marked the 90th anniversary of the creation of China’s People’s Liberation Army, on 1 August 1927…

On the surface, Sunday’s parade was a tub-thumping display of China’s increasingly sophisticated military prowess. “A strong army is the backbone of a strong country,” boasted one commentator narrating a live television broadcast of the event.

But with a key Communist party summit marking the end of Xi’s first term in power on the horizon it was also an intensely political showcase of his apparently unassailable position at the top of China’s one-party system.

Willy Lam, a politics expert from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the demonstration… was about bolstering Xi’s image as China’s top dog. “In Chinese tradition, power grows out of the barrel of the gun: whoever has control over the military and the police will be the supreme leader”…

China will host its 19th Communist party congress this autumn, a twice-a-decade conclave at which some of the most senior positions in Chinese politics will be distributed.

As Xi prepares for the event, which marks the midpoint of his anticipated 10-years in office, some believe he is seeking to promote himself as the third great leader of post-revolution China, after its founder, Chairman Mao and Deng Xiaoping, the architect of China’s breathtaking economic boom…

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