Russell Leigh Moses: What to Make of Xi Jinping’s Maoist Turntags: China, Xi Jinping, Russell Leigh Moses, Maoism
Russell Leigh Moses is the Dean of Academics and Faculty at The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies. He is writing a book on the changing role of power in the Chinese political system.
Is Xi Jinping lurching towards a Maoist revival?
With a number of Mao-like pronouncements emanating from Beijing in recent months, some observers of Chinese politics think he might be.
The most recent example is an editorial published earlier this week in the authoritative People’s Daily (in Chinese), which argues that the “mass line is the ruling lifeline” for the Communist Party.
In the days since, that phrase has proliferated through state media, with the official Xinhua news agency announcing on Thursday that the Communist Party had published, not one, but two new books on interpretations of “mass line” by everyone from Friederich Engels to Jiang Zemin.
The concept of a mass line harkens directly back to the Maoist era. It denotes the need for officials to get close to the masses, and to know their needs and demands intimately. References to “taking the mass line” have reappeared only sporadically in the years since reform took hold, as revolutionary visions were largely supplanted by slogans emphasizing China’s need for scientific development....
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