Xi Jinping’s Chongqing Tour: Gang of Princelings Gains Clout

For China Brief, Willy Lam writes that Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Chongqing and his support of the city’s party boss Bo Xilai gives a glimpse of his ideology and political loyalties before his expected promotion to replace Hu Jintao as CCP General Secretary in 2012:

Irrespective of the motives of Bo’s changhong and dahei maneuvers, Xi’s wholehearted championship of the “Chongqing experience” is most revealing of the future supremo’s political orientations. Unlike his father, former vice-premier Xi Zhongxun, who is a bona fide “rightist” and ally of the late party chief Hu Yaobang, Xi is believed to harbor much more conservative views (Wall Street Journal, October 19; Hong Kong Economic Journal, October 22). When delivering speeches in his capacity as President of the CCP Central Party School, Xi has indicated that while cadres must pass muster in morality and “Marxist rectitude” in addition to professional competence, the former comes before the latter. This is reminiscent of Chairmao Mao’s famous dictum that officials should be both “red and expert.” The Vice-President has repeatedly urged up-and-coming cadres to steep themselves in Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought. One of Xi’s favorite homilies is that leading officials must “firm up their political cultivation and boost the resoluteness of their political beliefs, the principled nature of their political stance… as well as the reliability of their political loyalty” (See “PLA Gains Clout: Xi Jinping Elevated to CMC Vice-Chairman,” China Brief, October 23).

Since being inducted into the PBSC at the 17th Party Congress in 2007 as the most senior Fifth-Generation cadre, however, Xi has mostly discussed political ideals and slogans in abstract settings. His zealous affirmation of the Chongqing model is the most concrete indication the heir-apparent has given to date as to how he will run the country after succeeding Hu in late 2012. As well-known People’s Daily commentator Wen Hai indicated in his article “What important message has been transmitted by Xi Jinping’s inspection of Chongqing?”, the Chongqing model of upholding “core socialist norms” was tantamount to laying down “for all members of society basic yardsticks and criteria for discriminating between good and evil, and for differentiating between meritorious and detrimental behavior.” Wen noted that Xi’s secondment of the Chongqing experience was a signal that the city’s “system of core socialist values should be applied in other regions” (People’s Daily, December 13; Sina.com, December 10).

December 19, 2010 11:04 PM
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Categories: Politics