In his latest drawing, CDT resident cartoonist Badiucao highlights the recent reemergence of the term “core” (héxīn 核心) in reference to CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping amid a call for “absolute” Party loyalty to the high leader.
Xi at the “Core,” by Badiucao for CDT:
In the cartoon, Xi is portrayed as an egg being pursued by a multitude of sperm, representing Party underlings. In his Twitter explanation, Badiucao warns that the imminent union could “spawn a power freak” (酿出一只权力的怪胎).
The term “core,” coined by Deng Xiaoping when he called Mao the “core” of the first generation and himself that of the second, was often used in reference to Jiang Zemin, the Party leader of the third generation. It was not commonly applied to Jiang’s successor Hu Jintao, but in recent weeks several provincial and municipal leaders have called Xi the “core” of the leadership. At Bloomberg Businessweek, Ting Shi reports that the reemergence of the term could hint that Xi is soon planning further consolidation of his power over the Party:
The semantic change could signal a shift in China’s elite politics, which has for more than three decades stressed collective leadership to avoid the Mao-style personality cult blamed for fueling the social chaos of the Cultural Revolution. Adopting it — something analysts said could happen as soon as next month’s National People’s Congress in Beijing — could free Xi’s hand to help shape the party’s leadership during a twice-a-decade reshuffle next year.
“If all this is really pointing to the declaration of Xi as the ‘core’ leader, then it suggests there might be some big changes at the 19th Party Congress,” said Joseph Fewsmith, a political science professor at Boston University who studies China’s elite politics and wrote “The Logic and Limits of Political Reform in China”. The move would “make the 19th Party Congress even more critical in establishing the party leadership.”
Designating Xi as essential to the party would cap more than three years in power during which he’s taken a leading role in economic planning and embarked on a massive campaign against graft that took down the country’s former security chief.
While the practical applications are difficult to gauge, it could potentially make it harder for anyone to question his personnel choices and signal a willingness to break with the established practices for promoting top officials that have governed China’s recent transitions of power. […] [Source]
Want a curated and annotated gallery of Badiucao’s work, viewable offline from the comfort of your tablet? CDT recently published “Watching Big Brother: Political Cartoons by Badiucao,” available in EPUB and PDF formats. The book covers the early years of Xi’s presidency, from December 2013 to January 2016, and also includes an interview with the artist. No contribution is required to download the book, but 100% of donations will go to Badiucao to support his artwork.