Xi Jinping secures a third term as China’s leader after desperately abolishing the 2-term limit and ruthlessly eliminating political rivals, but have these meticulous efforts secured this modern emperor’s throne for life? Probably not.
Ascending to power in November 2012, the year of 2022 marks the 10th year of Xi dynasty China. However, instead of celebrating this milestone in his reign, a rare sight of anti-zero-COVID protests in Beijing and Shanghai unveiled the intensifying fragility of Xi’s regime: despite suppressing protests, employing political propaganda in schools, and aggressively attacking foreign states via verbal insults on Twitter, there was outspoken opposition, dissatisfaction, and resistance — revealing a crack in Xi’s absolute rule.
Backed by greed and egocentrism, Xi dynasty China is bound for eventual demise.
Investigating the reality of Xi’s regime, long lines at crematoriums and hospitals (as of January 2023) reveal the dire aftermath of Xi’s strict zero-COVID policy. Enforced with frequent quarantines where residents are sometimes locked in their houses by government officials, the zero-COVID policy left nine injured and 10 dead in an apartment fire, sparking the anti-zero-COVID protest in Beijing and Shanghai.
Initially suppressing the protest through censorship and police arrests, international attention eventually pressured Xi to lift zero-COVID restrictions without much consideration for the lives of 1.4 billion Chinese citizens: as the world’s fastest-aging country, only less than half of China’s elderly population is vaccinated while the government continues to reject Western vaccines in the protection of national pride. Consequently, limited medical resources and funeral homes have been overwhelmed by the waves of patients and bodies, thanks to Xi’s futile attempt to salvage his reputation by rashly lifting restrictions.
Nevertheless, though China’s COVID crisis has discredited Xi beyond his control, he moves to keep a firm grip on China’s schools to indoctrinate a new generation of passionate Xi supporters.
“Primary schools will focus on cultivating a love for the country, the Communist Party of China,” a Chinese news outlet explained. “In middle school, the focus will be on a combination of perceptual experience and knowledge study, to help students form basic political judgments and opinions. In college, there will be more emphasis on the establishment of theoretical thinking.”
And these goals are achieved through the teaching of ‘Xi Jin Ping thought,’ a 14-principle summary of Xi’s political philosophy which has been printed into China’s new textbooks. As such, these carefully-crafted books emphasize total loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and are ready to be ingrained into the minds of many.
But even so, the waves of upheavals since the Hong Kong protests in 2019 and 2020 have pushed Xi to demand a ‘wolf-warrior’ foreign policy to glue the growing cracks in his throne.
Combative, intrusive, and offensive — the Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry displays its ‘wolf-warrior’ mindset through a series of all-caps posts, uncompromising denial, and direct insults (toward foreign states and officials) on Twitter. China’s diplomatic attitude seems comedically aggressive; Nonetheless, these angry child-like behaviors mask a shackling regime that needs to be strengthened by extreme nationalism.
By deriding the Canadian prime minister as “a running dog of the U.S.,” and accusing the United States Army of bringing COVID to China, the foreign ministry’s verbal abuses are amplified in Chinese media as news of triumph to spark national pride. But while this uncouth strategy effectively united the Chinese public in temporary jingoism, the deteriorating diplomatic relationships pose another obstacle in China’s path to economic recovery: lack of foreign investment.
Although Xi hopes to jump-start China’s post-pandemic economy by reopening up to foreign investment, after a cycle of harsh COVID lockdowns, nationalistic propaganda, and disastrous diplomacy, any reasonable foreign investor would be reluctant to invest in a nation that is diminishing in stability and augmenting in political manipulation. This leaves Xi dynasty China a thorny way to post-pandemic recovery, perhaps foreshadowing another economic catastrophe to further weaken Xi’s modern emperor dream.
Without true intentions to bring about improvements or tranquility, Xi Jinping’s judgments and decisions have been fueled by a selfish desire to prolong a throne of elitism and privilege — the very things that oppose the “classless socialism” that Xi promises. And such a pursuit of power backed by one man’s greed is destined to crash in public outrage, and it is just a matter of time.