Last week, the script of a speech delivered by Xi Jinping at the Central Party School back in January was posted to the school’s website and reposted widely by official media. One particular paragraph in the script caught the attention of netizens:
Communism is in no way as simple as “stewed beef and potatoes,” it cannot be easily obtained, results won’t appear overnight. We cannot consider it an imaginary mirage and lose our devotion to the Party just because the realization of the communist ideal is a long process. The realization of communism is the highest ideal of our Communist Party, and this highest ideal demands the struggle of generation after generation. If we believe that this is an invisible and ungraspable goal unworthy of struggle and sacrifice, than communism will never be realized. Perseverance and the development of Socialism With Chinese Characteristics are real efforts taken towards this highest ideal. [Chinese]
This marks a departure from the rhetorical status quo since the Deng era, which has focused on “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” without direct reference to communism as a high Party ideal. CDT resident cartoonist Badiucao took note. His latest cartoon shows Steamed Bun Xi joining Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin in a reinterpretation of a classic Maoist propaganda poster:
Badiucao was not alone in noticing how Xi’s January speech, and state media’s recent choice to shine a spotlight on it, harkens back to an earlier era of Party ideology. On Twitter, Wen Yunchao said, “Steamed Bun Xi’s centralization of power really will set political reform into motion—only in the wrong direction: communism.” For more netizen commentary on the topic, see a collection from CDT Chinese, or follow FreeWeibo’s archive of deleted comments, where “communism” (共产主义) is currently the number four trending search term.
CDT is now selling t-shirts and iPad covers featuring Badiucao’s work in our Zazzle store. See also a Q&A with Badiucao in which he discusses his artistic and personal influences, and his earlier cartoons for CDT.