Xi Channels Mao With Latest Clean-Up Campaign

Xi Jinping on Tuesday announced a “thorough cleanup” of the Communist Party, according to Xinhua News, warning conference attendees in Beijing about the need to stamp out dangerous elements from the party’s core.

Party members should be critical and self-critical in the spirit of rectifying improper work styles, Xi said.

“Winning or losing public support is an issue that concerns the CPC’s survival or extinction,” Xi said, stressing that the mass line, or furthering ties with the people, is the lifeline of the Party.

[...] With “serving the people, being down-to-earth, upright and corruption-free” as its main content, the education campaign could consolidate the CPC’s foundation and position as China’s governing party, boost its creativity, cohesion and combat capabilities, keep its advanced nature and purity, and win public trust and support, Xi said. [Source]

Xi mandated a top-to-bottom crackdown on corruption, extravagance and other improprieties within the party when he took over the reins last year. The campaign has already yielded a flurry of revelations about China’s government officials – most recently, the CCP expelled a state banking executive for allegedly accepting bribes and opened an investigation into the deputy director of the  for disciplinary violations. The new campaign extends the mandate to bring the party closer to the people.

Raymond Li of the South China Morning Post writes that Xi is “delving deeper into the legacy of the late Mao Zedong for inspiration” as he turns to mass-line tactics to bolster the legitimacy of the party:

“Such a campaign is still of significance at a time when vested interests are getting in the way of political reform,” [Xi] said. “But officials could fundamentally make themselves accountable to the masses via a democratic system under which the masses could decide their fate.”

Renmin University political scientist Zhang Ming said that with such a campaign, the central authorities were demonstrating their willingness to heed public grievances, but they had stopped short of offering concrete measures.

Zhang said the revival of Mao’s mass line campaign underscored the sense of anxiety among the new leadership due to an ideological void. “The new leadership is still caught between a political regime largely reminiscent of a feudal monarch and the temptation of a democratic system, which will continue to cause trouble for the party in the future,” he said. [Source]