Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping and. . . Xi Jinping?
Five years ago, the Chinese Communist Party awarded Xi the title of “essential leader”, setting the president on the path to reach the level of strongmen Mao and Deng. If President Xi introduces a predictable resolution on Thursday that gives him a formal, comprehensive, indefinite rule with no time limit, it will demonstrate his towering authority over the party’s leadership — and give him the impetus to enter the year ahead ready for China’s biggest challenges, both internal and external. .
Do not rule out China’s internal problems. Its barbaric one-child policy (now three children), requiring the killing of children by the state, has decimated the economic dynamism, with the population suffering from a scarcity of women and people of working age in general. While Beijing has eradicated COVID-19 for the time being, it is almost certain that the feline virus that emerged in the Wuhan lab is almost guaranteed that no variants have yet been discovered.
The Chinese people are troubled. Thus, Xi used his growing power to enact more extreme measures to subdue those less humiliated by him and the Party. He was purging opponents and hiding opponents. It has been persecution of christiansCrosses were stripped from their churches and priests were sentenced to years in prison on trumped-up charges. In Xinjiang, he is overseeing a genocide of Uyghur Muslims. In Tibet, Xi’s followers violently suppressed peaceful protesters.
Xi created the world’s most technically advanced surveillance country to monitor ordinary citizens. CCP leadership must approve all academic and scientific work on sensitive issues such as the origins of COVID and vaccines prior to publication. Those who speak on topics that embarrass the Chinese Communist Party – such as the government’s behavior in the outbreak, which appears to have been aimed at maximizing the export of the virus while inhumanely containing it within its borders – have been imprisoned, disappeared and even died under mysterious circumstances.
Meanwhile, Xi has pumped money into an advanced army, focusing largely on its nuclear power by expanding the production capacity of warheads and the number and variety of launch systems. He has noted the unwillingness of the United States to invest in the kinds of nuclear weapons that would improve deterrence — thanks to our sensitivity even to the idea of a nuclear exchange — and use them to his advantage in a way that our military strategy is only just beginning to realize.
He built ships, making the Chinese navy the largest in the world. He also displayed his military strength by demonstrating advanced capabilities in space and flying missiles that make their combined speed and maneuverability untrackable by current US radar and sensor engineering.
The purpose here is to carry out its supreme goal, to replace the United States of America as the world’s leading superpower. He does not separate the military realm from commerce or the challenges of climate change, unlike the naive leaders of the Biden administration. Xi will entrench Americans’ prioritization of these issues to his will and ends.
The most likely military flashpoint would be over Taiwan, an island whose 23 million people consider themselves Taiwanese rather than Chinese, and voted against Xi’s dreams of unification. Taiwan is a distinct, prosperous, and self-governing country, to all intents and purposes a Nation Closer to a Western nation-state than to a Chinese Leninist-like state. Its mere existence is an indictment of Xi’s Chinese communist vision, which is why Xi wants to accommodate it as he did in Hong Kong.
In addition to principled solidarity with the Taiwanese people, America has a critical geopolitical interest in Taiwan’s security. If China takes over Taiwan, Xi will be able to isolate America from the region, giving important allies like Japan, South Korea and Australia good reason to abandon our security commitments. What then? The end of American peace will be complete, and with it our ability to determine our own course will be complete.
If Americans are to decide for themselves how they want to live and not be bound by terms acceptable to Zhongnanhai, we must take Xi’s rise and murderous mission seriously. We certainly have our own internal challenges, but Xi intends to fully exploit them. It is necessary to understand his powerful abilities as he consolidates even more power.
Rebecca Heinrich is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.