Former Global Times Editor: Xi Jinping Aspires To Eclipse Mao


“for the working class, the laboring people and the Communist Party…working hard to create the conditions in which classes, state power, and political parties will die out very naturally and mankind will enter the realm of Great Harmony.” 

Mao Zedong, then General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and soon-to-be Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, delivered these remarks in his June 1949 speech, “On the People’s Democratic Dictatorship.” Mao’s manifesto coincided with the 28th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party and prophesied the coming arrival of what Karl Marx proclaimed a little more than a century earlier, the Communist Utopia. Now, over 70 years later, Chairman Xi Jinping still maintains this same rhetoric as the Chinese Communist party approaches its 100-year anniversary. 

In honor of the centenary, Chairman Xi Jinping, the self-appointed judge, jury, and executioner of the Middle Kingdom delivered one of the most decisive speeches of his entire career. Xi emphasized the need for the country to learn from the Party’s revolutionary history. This campaign, as Xi argued, would take the country, “on a new journey in high spirit to fully build a modern socialist China.”

Xi Jinping Thought” is tied to the hip of Mao Zedong’s legacy, a connotation the communist leader seems to welcome. In the early 2000s, the Chinese Communist Party had a brief chance to reform and shed its tendencies of repression but instead, they got Xi.  Xi Jinping is bent on finishing Mao’s Marxist vision of China. 

Mao Thought can be boiled down into two principles: If you are not with me, you are against me, and the ends always justify the means.

In his report about a peasant movement in Hunan province, his birthplace, in 1927, a young Mao observed first-hand how mob rule was instrumental in bringing about revolutionary changes throughout central China. 

Mao, one of the original members of the Chinese Communist Party, argued that “the great peasant masses” had risen up to, “fulfill their historic mission,” by overthrowing the “feudal” elements within society. What he witnessed was not “terrible,” but “fine,” and that “every revolutionary comrade must support it, or he will be taking the stand of counter-revolutionary.” 

As mentioned before, after securing near victory against the nationalist forces in 1949, Mao laid out his strategy for achieving a Communist Utopia. Mao dictated that the leadership of the Communist Party and the state, under the control of the people’s dictatorship, would be instrumental in transforming China. 

The People’s Democratic Dictatorship would be “benevolent” towards the Chinese people, (i.e., the working class, the urban petty bourgeoisie, etc.), while acting as a dictatorship to the, “running dog imperialists,” or anyone who wasn’t complicit in the CCP’s rise. 

Fast-forward 70 years and China is under the centralized control of Chairman Xi Jinping, who, since his ascent to power in 2012, has made quick work of eliminating China’s “modern” reactionary classes while espousing Marxist philosophy at every turn. 

On Karl Marx’s 200th birthday, Xi delivered a speech lauding the late-Communist’s unquestionable contributions to China’s development, finding that, “the destiny of Marxism has long been closely linked to the destinies of…the Chinese nation.” Xi continued, arguing that China must, “adhere to and apply the Marxist positions, viewpoints, and methods…” 

Lance Crayon, a former senior editor for some of China’s largest state-controlled media outlets, such as the Global Times and China Daily, notices how much China has changed since he first arrived in Beijing in 2009. 

Crayon notes that many of his former employers are focused on improving China’s outwards facing appearance by crafting narratives that showcase ‘national pride and unity’ for foreign audiences. While inside China, “you are not going to get them [Chinese citizens/immigrants] to reveal how they really feel about the current leader [Xi Jinping]…you’d have to be insane to actually go on record and speak your mind, but the Chinese do not like Xi Jinping.” 

He argues that in 2012, many in China expected the same reforms brought into the fold by leaders like Hu Jintao, such as permitting people relatively unrestricted access to capital markets, to continue. However, many were blindsided as Xi literally changed the rule book. 

In a similar Maoist fashion, Crayon was reminded of Xi’s media purges in 2013 where thousands of CCTV, China’s largest state-control broadcasting network, executives were arrested without charges. Xi later shrunk the CCP’s Standing Committee from 9 members to 7 and in 2018 rewrote the constitution to give himself and the vice president lifetime terms. 

Brave citizen journalists and doctors, such as Li Wenliang, reporting out of Wuhan last winter exposed the depravity of the Chinese Communist Party and the steps the government went to cover-up the soon-to-be pandemic. As Crayon comments, tragedies like the Cultural Revolution created a “warped” vision of nationalism. Millennials in China are taught an alternate Party history, giving rise to Xi era “key board warriors.” Many are couched that, “when in doubt, don’t say a word. Keep your mouth shut.”

What’s next? 

Lance Crayon theorizes that Xi Jinping aspires to eclipse Mao, mostly out of animosity formed during the Cultural Revolution when close members of his family were forced to undergo self-criticism, imprisoned, and committed suicide. The Chinese Communist Party’s 100-year anniversary is one momentous occasion Xi will leverage to execute his agenda with extreme prejudice to fulfill Mao’s Marxist vision for China. However, this is not a China on the verge of reaching the “Great Harmony” but one void of dissent.

Tim Kennedy is an executive assistant and assistant radio producer at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC. His work has been published by and the Center for Security Policy. You can follow him on Twitter @TimKennedyJr

The views expressed in this article do not reflect the views of any person or institution other than the author.