To wit, “Magnus writes about the dangers of Xi’s likely ascendance to President-for-Life. Ever since the excesses of Mao’s one-man rule, China’s Communist Party has largely ruled by consensus, while provincial governments have served as a counterweight to federal authority via control of their land and many of their local State Owned Enterprises (SOEs). Xi is challenging this staus quo. So-called Xi Jinping Thought is now official party canon, being taught in schools and in the media. The 2012 crackdown on corruption by Xi in his inaugural year was widely seen as a pretense for taking out political opponents and sending a message to his potential opponents. Ever since, Xi has been working to centralize power to himself. Magnus notes that being leader for life largely shields Xi from short-term popular discontent, but also means that every long-term decision, good or bad, will become part of Xi’s legacy.”
Firstly, XJP is not “President for Life.” This misnomer has been repeated ad nauseum, but it is not true. The elimination of term limits is not tantamount to being crowned president for life. When the proper time comes Xi will retire, after he has completed his historical task.
Secondly, while XJP is the core of the CPC leadership he is not a potentate and rules collegiality in consultation with other Party leaders. XJP is a consensus builder not a dictator.
Thirdly, “XJP Thought” is portrayed as some sort of totalitarian mantra. The content of “XJP Thought” however is never mentioned or discussed. It consists of a litany of goals and objectives for China during the new era it has embarked on, ideas such as “ecological civilization,” “sustainable development,” etc. not some draconian, ideologically driven agenda.
Fourthly, the anti-corruption drive is not simply a “pretense for taking out political rivals,” but a necessary palliative to rectify the Party and return it to its roots of serving the people.
But all the above is lost on the average blinkered Western “China-hand” who only sees China through the prism of Western political science.
The “red flags” that China is projected to face in the future, such as a debt crisis, lagging growth, a looming demographic imbalance, etc. are also all seen through the prism of Western economic theory, which does not apply to China’s system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which operates on totally different principles.
These prejudices are seldom if ever acknowledged, primarily because they go unrecognized.