President Xi Jinping’s extended tenure could spell difficulty for Chinese

Beijing, June 27 As China’s ruling Communist Celebration is set to celebrate its centenary on July 1, specialists caution that the capacity of President Xi Jinping’s extension in power, unlike his predecessors, might possibly be “extremely destabilising” for it in the future in the lack of a successor.

Ironically, in its 100th year, the Communist Party of China (CPC), as it is officially called, depends on Xi just as it depended on its founder leader and principled ideologue ‘Chairman’ Mao Zedong, who held a vice-like grip on it up until his death in 1976 after the party was developed in 1921.

On the edge of collapse after his dreadful ideological experiments like the 1958 “Fantastic Leap Forward”, mass mobilisation of labour to enhance farming and commercial production but ended with a string of bad harvests leading to scarcity, and the 1966 ‘Cultural Revolution’, which resulted in the deaths of over 1.5 million individuals, the celebration was restored by moderate “paramount leader” Deng Xiaoping.

Deng, who won the bitter power struggle against the ‘Gang of 4’ headed by Mao’s widow Jiang Qing and directed the party till 1997 had actually overturned Mao’s hardline Marxism, changing it with a practical ideology of “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics” and undoing the damage triggered by Mao that assisted China to release the capacity of the world’s most populous nation to emerge as the second-largest economy.

Deng’s other political invention of cumulative leadership structure which kept the party undamaged accommodating all groups and areas of the 90 million-strong member CPC after his death in 1997 has gone back to one leader celebration with the development of Xi at the helm in 2012.

China in 2018 authorized the removal of the two-term limitation on the presidency, efficiently permitting Xi, 68, to remain in power for life.

While Xi’s supporters predicted his leadership as the requirement of the hour for China, which is facing international adversity, analysts warn that his continuation in power after two terms unlike predecessors is potentially destabilising.

It was regular practice that a follower to the General Secretary of the CPC is named during the 2nd period of the party leadership.

With no clear successor in sight, observers anticipate Xi to stay as a vital leader throughout the reshuffle of the celebration’s governing bodies as the twice-a-decade Party Congress next year will clarify how he prepares to tackle succession and avoid a crisis within the celebration.

It might show to be his biggest challenge and will shape the celebration for years to come, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post stated in its report on Friday.

Xi has said that a person method to assess a political system is to see whether the leadership succession is “obedient and orderly”.

However unlike his predecessors, Xi did not endorse a follower at the end of his first term in 2017, and observers do not anticipate one to emerge in the brand-new leadership line-up next year as well.

That might spell trouble for the celebration, according to Steve Tsang.

“When succession finally looms, it can possibly be very destabilising if the structure and/or process is unclear and well specified,” Tsang told the Post.

His view was echoed by Nis Gruenberg, a senior analyst at the Mercator Institute for China Studies.

“By eliminating term limits and succession norms Xi has purchased himself more time to establish his vision of the party-state and his national job for China,” Gruenberg said.

“But he has actually likewise inserted massive unpredictability into the leadership system once again, which in the end could destabilise the leadership system as quickly as Xi– as unchallengeable power centre– has actually gone.”

Generating new members will be vital to prevent a succession crisis, something that would have a larger effect, provided China’s financial heft, according to a joint report by the Centre for Strategic International Studies in the US and the Lowy Institute in Australia.

“The worldwide impact of a 21st-century succession crisis would be tremendous,” the think-tanks said in the April report.

“But even assuming Xi does retire in 2027 or 2032– in part or in full– it stands to factor that he would continue to work out massive power, as did Deng Xiaoping after 1989,” they said.

Given that Xi, a sedate and simple Vice President under the previous regime led by Hu Jintao has become the most powerful leader, the celebration has reverted to one leader set up eliminating the cumulative leadership formula floated by Deng.

Xi has cast himself on the mould of Mao with a pledge to bring back the “Chinese dream” to lead the world and avoid a collapse like that of the Soviet Communist Celebration in 1992.

Presuming power as the leader of the CPC and head of the Central Armed Force Commission, the total high command of the Chinese military besides the Presidency, Xi, who carried out the greatest anti-corruption campaign purging over 1.5 million party officials, has strongly entrenched himself at the helm.

The enormous purge has also helped him to become the “core” leader of the party, a status just taken pleasure in by Mao, putting himself ahead of the remainder of the senior leaders, consisting of second Premier Li Keqiang.

He likewise strengthened the People’s Freedom Army with massive modernisation and reforms setting a due date for it to become the world’s best army by 2027 on par with the United States military.

Ahead of the centenary Xi, who is set to complete his second five-year tenure next year, has actually already made a strong case for his extension to handle the unfavorable circumstance faced by China and the CPC over COVID-19 origins, claims of genocide against Muslim Uygurs in Xinjiang, the total takeover of Hong Kong with a questionable National Security Law and his campaign to take control of the self-administered island Taiwan and incorporate it with the mainland.

In a speech to the party in January this year, Xi said time and momentum are on China’s side while the world deals with unprecedented turbulent times.

“The world remains in a rough time that is unmatched in the past century. But time and momentum are on our side. This is where we reveal our conviction and resilience, as well as our determination and confidence,” he said, mentioning that China has actually included coronavirus while the world continues to face it.

Western analysts likened his speech to that of French Emperor Napoleon’s statement that the conditions are right to make the most of a world that remained in flux.

Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute at the University of London said “Xi is now carefully very optimistic. He sees the general environment and advancement as positive for China to assert a brand-new historical function and sees challenges however feels great that China under him will have the ability to make the most of it.””It is a– to paraphrase Napoleon– declaration that the conditions are right for the formerly slumbering lion to roar and he will ensure that it does,” Tsang told the Post previously. PTI

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