China's Xi Jinping Promises Aggressive Communism: 'A Military Is Built to Fight'
On Wednesday, China's President Xi Jinping announced a new era of totalitarianism in his 3.5-hour speech to the Communist Party Congress. He spoke about subjugating religion to nationalism, beefing up military aggressiveness, and spreading more socialist ideology.
"Achieving national rejuvenation will be no walk in the park," Xi declared, rallying more than 2,200 top members of his party beneath the huge hammer and sickle in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. "It will take more than drumbeating and gong-clanging to get there."
The president suggested two major features in this national rejuvenation: a strong dedication to Marxist ideology and an aggressive foreign policy. Behind the scenes, his government is also taking control of the country using technology.
"Ideology determines the direction a culture should take and the path it should follow as it develops," Xi said. He insisted that even religion must be "Chinese in orientation." Last month, the party ordered schools to intensify efforts to promote "Chinese traditional and socialist culture" among the young.
The Chinese president also set forth his new book, "Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era." One official at the gathering described it as the "third milestone" in the party's "ideological innovation," following previous works by Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, The Washington Post reported.
Delegates have even hinted that the party constitution will be revised to incorporate Xi's twist on communist ideology.
"Under Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party is headed in the direction of strongman rule," David M. Lampton, director of China studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, told The New York Times. "The 19th Party Congress is more likely to look like a coronation than an institutionalized transition to a leader's second term."
The president explicitly said the party should rule over all aspects of Chinese life. "The party exercises overall leadership over all areas of endeavor in every part of the country," Xi declared.
The president's emphasis on communist ideas and party control of the country reflected his fears that Communist rule in China could collapse the same way it did in the Soviet Union, unless the party can clamp down on the society. In 2017, one hundred years after the beginning of Russia's revolution, the issue of communism's failure in the Soviet Union may strike home for the Chinese president.
"Why did the Soviet Union collapse?" Xi asked his officials in 2013. He answered his own question, "There was ideological chaos, the party apparatus at every level seemed ineffectual, the military was no longer under the leadership of the party."
The president wants to ensure his Communist Party stays in power long after the 100th anniversary of its founding four years from now. Next year, it will overtake the time Russia's Communist Party ruled the Soviet Union.