Move Over Mao: Beloved ‘Papa Xi’ Awes China

Not since Mao Zedong dominated the nation with his masterly blend of populism, fervor and fear has a Chinese leader commanded as much public awe as President Xi Jinping.

Comments: 145

  1. Cult of personality is political immaturity.

    It is a weakness, not a strength.

    Witness North Korea, Russia, Venezuela.

    So a toast to a political future in China when ideas and policy matter more than egotism and strutting and preening.

  2. Political immaturity, perhaps. But as Andrei Lankov once said, those regimes that are willing to do whatever it takes to oppress and remain in power, typically remain in power for very, very long.

  3. Maturity has nothing to do with it. A cult of personality is manufactured. You can't manufacture a cult of personality unless you have a closed environment where those in power can control the media and political dissent. In an open political environment, the press and political opponents will provide a natural balance against a cult of personality.

  4. Huh, you think what's happening right now ISN"T about ego? Interesting, putting pictures of yourself with Mao doesn't seem very selfless. And of course Mao stands on human rights is a tad weak being one of the great mass murders of the 20th century.

  5. So when is the next edition of The Little Red Book due out?
    That's how the Cult of Personality (manufactured, of course, by the Personality and his many henchmen) works: You've got to love this fellow. Or else.
    Of course, he cares about the little guy. Shepherds always care deeply about their sheep. And, ultimately, for the same reason.
    Well, Cultural Revolution fans, here we go again ...

  6. Good try but not even scratched the surface. The problem we have is that not even one of our NYT reporters has shown any clue about China. This occurs after a historically unprecedented social transformation in China of the last 40 years.

    I wonder what happened to us!

  7. It would be helpful if you had a concrete criticism of the article rather than offer a blanket condemnation of New York Times reporters. (And what does the subject of the article have to do with China's "unprecedented social transformation of the last 40 years."?

  8. The discription of this cult of adulation that surrounds President Xi reminds me very much of the cultism of the Kim dyanasty in the DPRK (North Korea). The party's employment of this sort of propaganda telling since it shows the party is relying upon the same old mechanisms used many years ago during the cult of Mao. They have no faith in their ability to inspire support and confidence in the public through able governance. Instead, they once again dabble in mythologizing their great leader so as to quide.

    This is not a positive sign for the future nor is a step in the right direction but a repetition of the past and I wonder if this sort of past is worth repeating.

  9. It's always a little frightening when a people are attracted to the virtual deification of a politician and when that politician feels worthy of such an image.

  10. You are correct. Look what happened with George W.

  11. " But the adoration has also been primed by relentless propaganda portraying Mr. Xi as an indomitable alloy of Superman and Everyman..."

    Hillary Clinton came to my mind when reading this passage.

  12. Only in your fevered imagination.

  13. "Some analysts say Mr. Xi’s traumatic family history should have given him a searing lesson in the risks of cultish obedience" seems he did receive a searing lesson in these risks....and the lesson he learned was that the safest place in such a system is at the very top, where everyone else is required to observe cultish obedience to you

  14. While Xi has ingratiated himself with the common man, at the same time he has made many enemies among the elite with his politically motivated purge of "corrupt officials". He is also persecuting his intelligencia. It is no wonder that educated Chinese with some money are seeking foreign residencies in record numbers. They know that at some point Xi's enemies will push back, probably when the economy slows further. Xi knows this as well and that's why he has spent so much time consolidating his power within the security services.

  15. Obama should try fighting corruption; he might become popular too. I suggest starting with Joe Biden's son's appointment to a Ukranian natural gas company.

  16. Appointment? How does anyone get "appointed" to a Ukranian natural gas company? Appointed what? What nonsense.

  17. Appears Chairman Xi is taking the pages from the Bo Xilai playbook. Mr. Bo built a cult of personality around a campaign against criminal gangs, increased spending on social programs and a revitalization of "red culture" from the Cultural Revolution era. Bo and Xi have somewhat similar histories; both are 'princelings' whose fathers were purged.

  18. Mr. Xi’s rise to power showcases the unmerited advantages of being from a powerful political family. I have to wonder if America’s princeling political families will also bestow our nation with its new President in 2016. It feels like we are all moving back to the age of Kings, Queens and Emperors.

  19. It shocked me to see Xi's picture hanging on the wall, until I read that it's the shop owners idea, not required by the government. The last thing China needs is another personal cult. Remember those crazy, crazy days of Cultural Revolution? People, chill it! no one is above excessive flattering.

    Xi's policies and actions seem to be right on so far and he seems to be a well-grounded and upright person. Among all the excesses and corruption, he definitely presents a breath of fresh air. Ordinary people being pulled toward is natural, but let's not go to extremes.

  20. "Look, there's 'God' coming out of the men's room!" - Woody Allen from "Annie Hall".

  21. Last week Chinese/Journalist Chain Jing presented a movie about smog in China called "Qiong Ding Zhi Xia" also called Under the Bell. It was on the internet and viewed by tens of millions of Chinese people and widely discusssed. It was not long before the Chinese government prohibited showing the movie and being viewed on the internet and forbade any public discussion about the smog issue in China. If this is how the Chinese leader treats a serious issue affecting miilions in China there is not much hope for the Chinese people. What the leader says is China we does not have a smog issue in China and it shall not be discussed by the public. This is hardly a leader for China.

  22. You are spreading falsehood but that's common for someone with little knowledge of facts on the ground in China.

    Over the past few years, more than a hundred Chinese cities are reporting air pollution stats on government websites. Dozens of nuclear reactors are under construction. The biggest ever solar power project: Ordos, with 2000MW capacity is under planning. Water diverted from Yangtze to Yellow River to tame the dust storm up North. Heavy industries being relocated out of city center and East Coast. The adaption of stringent fuel efficiency requirement that’s more stringent than EPA.

  23. Then why did the regime quash the movie?

  24. Wow! This comment shows what is wrong with so much current "analysis" of China. The government "Prohibited showing the movie"? The reality, if anybody cares about that when it comes to China, is it's the exact opposite. In English the documentary is called "Under the Dome" not "Under the Bell". It was made by well known Chinese journalist Chai Jing it's been viewed by over 150 million times (primarily on Yoku China's Youtube -- Youtube is blocked in China though with a readily VPN which no really cares if you use you can watch Youtube as well) and far from being suppressed it has been endorsed by China's environment minister Chen Jining as a good way to raise the topic of balancing growth with environmental impact. There is currently a huge discussion about this documentary on Chinese digital media platforms and a well covered national survey that shows pollution as the top concern of most Chinese. China thankfully is finally beginning to seriously address it's pollution issues no need to get the story wrong to score cheap uninformed political points.

  25. The world is cycles, their up won't be forever. Their down, since we let them own everything, is going to be unique. Buy an electric car and live frugally.

    The bigger anything gets the more corrupt it becomes. Always. Why we have yet to learn that lesson is beyond me. China is too big to every be an honest place. We have again allowed our institutions to grow too large and too powerful. The correction is not going to be pretty.

  26. Seeing as how his main accomplishments so far are
    1) Getting rid of his opponents under the guise of "corruption"
    2) Alienating every major neighbor of China except Russia in exchange for nothing gained
    3) Further restricting the liberties of the people
    4) Presiding over the slowest economic growth in 24 years
    5) Starting a cyber Cold War with the U.S.

    I don't see how anyone can be in awe of him. What positive things has he actually accomplished? Nothing. Then again, Mao wasn't exactly the greatest leader either, and people worshipped him.

  27. Only if you have to take a spin on every accomplishment he did.
    1) He DID get rid of quite many corrupt officials. This is currently a very positive situation in China. He is getting rid of his political opponents only because that is the only way he could do anything to rid of corruption.
    2) China is finally no longer playing chicken and restarting drilling/mining operations in the China seas. Those oil wells in East China sea used to be harassed by Japanese planes ALL THE TIME. Now anything entering that area is getting escorted by two Chinese jets.
    3) He has a heavy hand on censorship yes. But did you know how many rumors and very bad world views the Chinese internet and social media were building? There were cases that led to extreme personal loss for certain innocent INDIVIDUALS and small groups. Besides, China does have a volatile society that can get stirred up pretty easily. At least he is not shooting civilians by accident like what we have here in the U.S.
    4) Why not look at it this way: China is avoiding a serious crash in housing and labor market. Slow, is a bless. Chinese labor is getting very expensive (few young wokers) while RMB is raising against USD, hindering export very severely. Housing bubble is reaching is height, prompting a large market crash that will shake the whole world if not handled correct.
    5) You sure China started it?

  28. "At least he is not shooting civilians by accident like what we have here in the U.S." You've GOT to be kidding. So shooting civilians on purpose (or just making them disappear for doing things such as exercising in public or pulling a rickshaw without a license) and no one ever finding out is somehow better?

  29. Care to provide some background for your first point?

  30. Unlike both Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, Xi Jinping is the "princeling" son of the Long March Hero Xi Zhongxun and the husband of the singing star performing artist of the People's Liberation Army Peng Liyuan with their daughter attending Harvard University incognito.

    The Old Forbidden City in Beijing is not too far from the New Forbidden City in it's walled isolated splendor. For most of the last 2200 years, China has been a socioeconomic political educational scientific technological world superpower. With divine Han Emperors ruling the Middle Kingdom under a Heavenly Mandate with a merit based civil service and a national security military defense policy that eschewed any imperial colonial ambitions.

    "Papa Xi" better watch his political back, front and sides. This is Deng's China for a reason. About 300 million Chinese moved into the middle class in his wake. That leaves a billion more seeking their socioeconomic human and civil rights. China's 92% ethnic Han Chinese majority is aging and shrinking with an annual GDP that is 2nd but only about half the size of America spread over 4x as many people in a nation the geographic size of the lower 48 states. Nationalism is rising along with populism.

    "Tigers and flies.." is the motto of the war on government corruption which can end in execution. The message is the high and mighty are not immune. Former Prime Minister Wen Jiabao played the populist role. But the NYT reported on the wealth of his family and friends.

  31. Meanwhile, he is purging supporters his predecessor, consolidating power, and crushing opposition. History has a long trail of bad endings for countries that deify and glorify leaders; bad endings for those countries as well as their neighbors.

  32. Thank you for pointing that out; I live in one of those neighboring countries waiting to see how things develop. Long before Xi came on the scene, Beijing had pretty much determined that at least five neighboring countries' coastlines and archipelagic territories in the Pacific are part of its ancient Middle Kingdom, the equivalent of the Roman Empire's mare nostrum. And its common for political strongmen to consolidate their domestic base by channeling public anxiety into xenophobia and territorial takeovers.

  33. @Joe Yohka: You sum it up very nicely. 100% correct.

  34. Populism virtually always blossoms into dictatorship. Most people are dumb.

  35. Surely the Chinese leaders are building up political capitol to ready themselves for the not-too-distant future when the Chinese economy begins to wain. Once the economy begins to shrink, we will see reaction and re-action... and their fear, a new revolution.

  36. It might seems over the top, but how's that different from our own politicians during election campaign season (now-a-day even off season)? Each candidate (and their supporters) uses languages that's pretty over the top too. (So and so will come and save job/industry/state/country.) I am sure US has people who would go to a restaurant because Obama ate there, too. Most people who attends republican/democrat convention are a bit over-excited to me as well. I guess the main different is that the US has 2 parties who consistently tears the other party's perfect image apart, while in China, opposite viewpoints weren't presented.

  37. It's okay to criticise powerful people here. It's not so okay there to do so. I've tried it, even to criticise people like Mao and compare him to Deng, etc. If you don't belong to the party (about 10%) then you don't have much power.

  38. ". . . but how's that different from our own politicians during election campaign season . . .?"

    Gee. Let's see. Election campaign coverage is different since there IS no election in China. And the comparisons just get worse from there.

  39. A testament to a servile corporate media which can only summon its critical thinking capacities when scrutinizing an official enemy. It reaches near comical proportions at times, as when they criticize human rights in Cuba with a straight face while Washington operates a torture chamber on that island, or when they lavish scorn on the "tyrant" Chavez upon his death only later to laud a dead Saudi king who had a penchant for beheading, torturing and jailing dissenters as a "moderate" reformer.

  40. Living in the middle of this you get a sense of what is going on. China right now is facing serious challenges. The government has intentionally slowed down growth to try and ensure a both economically and environmentally sustainable level of development. This year the target GDP growth is 7% the lowest level since 1990 and unemployment is expected to tick up to about 4.7%. Xi and the government are trying to build up goodwill and his reputation as someone who can be trusted to do what is best for all of China in the long term. Slowing down the economy for environmental and other purposes and cracking down on corruption were two important steps but there are a number of other tough decisions ahead and there are going to be bumps along the road. The general population's faith in Xi will be needed to sustain these needed reforms. Fortunately, if the road really gets bumpy the Chinese still have a spare tire in the form of their US$ 4 trillion in foreign reserves which can rapidly be employed to smooth things out for anywhere between 3-5 years a time frame which should be more than adequate. Unfortunately. we handed our spare tire over to the financial sector during the 2008 financial crisis.

  41. "Fortunately, if the road really gets bumpy the Chinese still have a spare tire . . . "

    The road usually gets bumpy with the bodies of unarmed Chinese protesters. Living outside, you get a true sense of what is going on.

  42. "The government has intentionally slowed down growth to try and ensure a both economically and environmentally sustainable level of development"

    More like the the overspending and gross mismanagement of government funds in 2008-2011 are finally catching up to them. Nowhere will you find in the 2007-2011 Chines government forecasts for growth slowing to anything less than 8%.This slowdown is far worse than even the most pessimistic government forecaster ever predicted.
    They are on the cusp of an enormous real estate bubble and overall debt as a percentage of GDP is approaching 300%.

    The only way the CCP can appear to maintain control is through an iron fisted strongman like Xi. The citizens are not at all happy with the shrinking job prospects , environmental degradation and corruption that no one, not even a martinet like Xi can control.

  43. "The road usually gets bumpy with the bodies of unarmed Chinese protesters. Living outside, you get a true sense of what is going on."

    The road certainly got bumpy for the government of Selma, Alabama, when it brutalized dozens of unarmed protesters on the Edmund Pettus Bridge -- 50 years ago this month. A few days later an unarmed protester was clubbed to death on the street -- his attackers then acquitted by an all-white jury. It was certainly true that those living outside Selma -- the whole rest of the world -- had a clear picture of what was going on. And this led to reform. Let us hope there will be reform in China, too.

  44. A China without a leader that is moving the country towards democracy and an equal application of the rule of law for everybody will, in the future, be a threat to my grandchildren's freedom.

    A one party state is a threat, today, to America and our leaders should never forget that concept.

  45. Although some of the examples of Xi's fandom is somewhat comical and grotesque, Western observers should be cautious in not over-estimating the impact of this PR campaign. In an environment where press freedoms and expressions of political dissent are restricted, there is often an illusion of unanimity.

    Because open criticism is muted by force of government action, outside observers only see the positive reactions to government PR and rarely the negative reactions.

    Without more, we should be careful about reading too much into this article.

  46. You've wishfully observe that the tail is wagging the dog, that is you suggest it is the Chinese media ("Chinese propaganda machine") who have contrived Xi Jinpings popularity.
    I'd suggest they haven't, Xi Jinping visited New Zealand last year and even on that brief visit he endeared himself to many New Zealanders, he is an impressive man. He speaks honestly, graciously and intelligently, he has a humble and open demeanor. He looks good and so does his impressively talented wife, Peng Liyuan.
    No, if China is fawning over him it's entirely understandable without the need to imagine any of it a state media contrivance.

  47. The first half of the article about the growing adoration of the Chinese for Xi was misleading. In a country of over 1.3 billion, a song downloaded "thousands of times" or even 17 million copies of a book "reportedly sold or given away," (i.e., printed, perhaps) is virtually meaningless.

    It was the second half of the article that told the real story about the government's propaganda campaign to bolster its president. As interesting as that story is, it's not unique to China. We can see it in places as diverse as Russia, Turkey, Italy with Berlusconi, even Japan with Abe, to some extent. And we've seen in the US, too.

    Remember Bush II in the fighter pilot's costume beneath
    "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED"? Of course, here in the US, the propaganda mostly comes from the private sector, like Murdoch's Fox News or the Koch brothers political ads. But as Deng Xiaoping once said about his introduction of a little capitalism to the Chinese economy, "It doesn't matter if the cat is black or white, as long as it catches the mouse."

  48. Propaganda by the US government is huge: Victoria Nuland who started the Ukranian civil war by ousting the Ukranian elected leaser in a coup and telling Congress , March 4, that there is hordes of Russian soldiers in eastern Urkaine while even the head general in Kiev says its not true.

    America has become a cesspool of propaganda.

  49. Xi has his work cut out for him as ruler of the Middle Kingdom with it's 1,000 million people of diverse cultures, languages, religions, many levels of social status and security and its over 5,000 year history as a coherent civilization.
    When he recently visited Iowa.
    he certainly not behave like a sociopathic, cult of personality mad tyrant. He seemed authentically appreciative of the kindness and unpretentious goodwill given him by Americans he had met and lived with as a guest nearly twenty years earlier.
    I believe he knows the difference between wearing the aspirational mask of "Papa Xi" to provide a social role model for millions and the all too human, real politic man who wears it.
    At least I hope he does, and until I hear otherwise, in my opinion, he is so far doing as good job possible, walking the razor blade of modern statecraft knowing that by both his actions and inactions the lives and deaths of a great many will turn.

  50. "When he recently visited Iowa . . . he certainly not behave like a sociopathic, cult of personality mad tyrant."

    That is because he does not yet rule Iowa.

  51. Is it a harmless fad, or something more? Think about 2008 and the ridiculous Obama celebrity-mania.

    This mania has be considered in context of Xi's other agendas and qualities as CCP and China's leader. Unlike Hu Jin Tao, Xi Jin Ping is more conservative, more autocratic, and more forceful internally and externally. These authoritarian qualities make the whole thing seem less like celebrity-mania and a little more like a cult of personality.

  52. Great; China now has a Emperor; like Russia has a Czar. And, to make this complete; a living God in North Korea. All created their own personality cults; and, all allies of each other. Oh, I forgot that they all have nuclear weapons; or the capability to build them And, Israel is worried about Iran.

    Russia controls vast resources, China controls vast resources, and teh world's largest economy. north Korea is willing to sell their people to slave in China and Russia for hard currency. This to keep the Kim family in power.

    Nothing good can come of this.

  53. Hopefully the great leader will lead the world from the evils of democracy, constitutionalism and liberalism.

  54. I think that NYT is missing the mark on this one.

    Chinese leaders are often presented in familial terms. After Hu Jintao went to show concern for the victims of the Wenchuan Earthquake, he was deemed "Grandpa Hu." Everyone is a papa, an uncle, or an auntie -- such is the language of Chinese political life.

    More importantly, although every Chinese leader since Mao (and even before him) has enjoyed a great deal of surface adulation, this is a revolving door. People forget about their leaders more and more quickly. The fact that Xi is showing real determination to purge rival factions / root out corruption (two names for the same thing) does make him unusual among recent generations of leadership, but he has yet to emerge as anything like a Putin-style autocrat.

    If we can see that, then so can the Chinese people. At least for now, we need not see the fervor surrounding Xi as anything more than spillover hype from the annual congress.

  55. China has quite a good fortune to have President Xi Jinping and his gracious wife as the power couple responsible for leading the most populous country in the world. While Mao believed in holding on to power through the barrel of the gun, president Xi Jinping seems more gentle, diplomatic, image conscious, prudent global leader and stateman who has kept the territorial ambitions of China's military brass in check. Governing China's vast diverse people is a tall order and President Xi in doing so remains apparently popular is vital for China's engagement with the rest of the world and balancing the different political constituencies internally. More persuasive power to Xi in developing China and serving his masses well.

  56. "Xi Jinping seems more gentle, diplomatic, image conscious, prudent global leader and stateman who has kept the territorial ambitions of China's military brass in check."

    China drew the 9 dash line that extends their territory to the beaches of Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan, they are aggressively building reclaimed reefs for military bases just miles from the Philippines, they fly fully armed military jets near Okinawa and several times have achieved radar lock with missiles aimed at Japanese planes , while also claiming vast tracts of land in Kashmir from India.
    If this is gentle, I'd hate to see what they would look like if they were upset.

  57. Mark. If what you have described is true why the silence of the lambs. President Xi can be persuaded to reverse the course of any aggression. As I said governing China is a complex process with the military 's interests need to be contained by a political leader. You are right China has claimed vast tracts of India for decades and during Mao's time in 1962, the Red army aggressively entered India. In sharp contrast during the visit by President Xi to India there were border incursions from the Chinese side but Prime minister Modi's government in India persuaded Prez Xi to restrain his cavalry which he did and after he returned heads rolled with the embarrassment that the military had caused. Thats what I mean by balancing China's interests. China needs to be shown the errors of its ways and persuaded to reverse them. With Prez Xi it is possible. Would never happen under Chairman Mao. Prez Xi knows the limits within which the current maneuvering needs to be contained to remain credible.

  58. A few hours after this above post an article has appeared in Times of India in which the foreign minister has made a statement that the border dispute of China with India is contained. Give China the benefit of doubt and let all disputes get resolved peacefully and in a mature manner and don't write of President Xi. Try and understand his situation and how negaging China diplomatically could be of mutual benefit.

  59. Very good article - this topic needs more coverage. In particular, we Americans need a better understanding of President Xi's genuine and deep devotion to communism.

    It's very easy to assume that no Chinese leader could possibly want to reverse what has seemed like the trend in China towards a western-capitalism democracy. But we read events in China through the glass of our attachment to capitalism and liberal values, and assume that after the gross failures of Maoism and the Soviet Union that history has indeed ended and its just a matter of time before China abandons communism.

    President Xi doesn't think that. He is a deeply committed communist and he has no intention of allowing Marxism to disappear. China may have opened to the world, and China will never go back to being the closed society it was under Mao, but President Xi intends his country's world-role to be an example of how Marxism can work, not the final triumph of capitalism.

    The levers of economic power and military strength will be used to move his neighbors towards the culmination of history that Marx predicted, not our vision of a liberal democracy.

    This may seem absurd to us, but that's only because we assume liberal democracy to be that culmination. President Xi and his party do not not agree.

  60. Just to be clear. The Communism advocated by President Xi, means that he serves the Party before the People and before the interest of the Country. This means an absolute control by the 1% where even the expression of any ideas that differ from the Party will be severely punished.

  61. Devotion to the Communist Party is not always proof of devotion to Communism.

  62. The Communist Party is devoted to the Chinese version of capitalism, because capitalism has brought China prosperity. But the Communist Party is also devoted to authoritarianism, and looks upon liberal values as decadent and promoting weakness.

    If China's economic expansion runs into real trouble -- something like 2008 in the West -- then look for a popular outburst that will provoke a very sharp and bloody response form the state.

  63. "...Xi Zhongxun, a revolutionary hero, was driven from power in 1962 after Mao accused him of seeking to subvert the party, and was seized and persecuted by Maoist radicals after the Cultural Revolution erupted in 1966."

    seized and persecuted? do you mean arrested, threatened, imprisoned and/or tortured?

    maybe mr. xi, the son, can use the lessons of the past to learn what _not_ to do for china's future. however, perspectives often change once in power, and the desire for revenge for one's family can be strong. (mr. xi, the son, was quoted to have watched the godfather movie series.)

    and if mr xi, the son, really wants a modern-day personality cult, he should look to pyongyang for lessons on how it's done. north korea really has a strong, incorruptible and lovable leader.

  64. Again, this article simplifies the 1 billion or so people in China as more or less the same, giving an authoritarian taint to what is no doubt a much more nuanced and complicated history. Nobody seems to be aware that China's liberalization and opening up is already some kind of economic and intellectual progress from its history stooped deep in a feudal and agricultural past. The one big country with so many people is able to make that change, forgoing the upheavals and chaos of the Mao era, is moving away from the past. The number of chinese students who study abroad, and those who emigrated to put their children in western universities is testament to the drive that the people have. Modernity and tradition will always live uncomfortably side by side. Where the west had their revolutions and wars during the past, so china had theirs. If the west and america would like to engage china effectively and productively, then it would do well to learn more from other cultures rather than assume that the world revolves around itself without the ability to react and respond.

  65. Let's get history straight. Before Mao plunged China back into the Dark Ages, there was the Chinese Nationalist Party which was modernizing China and opening it to the world. Mao was a reaction to that who lowered the bamboo curtain, killed millions, and set the country back.

  66. If we're going to write revisionist history, why not note that the Nationalists were almost entirely corrupt. Yes, the Cultural Revolution was awful, but if we use industry as a measure of modernization (which you believe is an unalloyed good thing), then post-1948 China would seem better off. It wasn't, but that's why it's best not to paint in broad strokes.

  67. To say that the Cultural Revolution was "awful" is like saying the Holocaust was "awful" -- a horrible understatement!

    It's amazing that nobody wants to talk about the horrors and the depravity of the Cultural Revolution -- as if being the world's largest economy somehow justifies everything!

    What if Hitler's Germany became the world's largest economy? How would the rest of the world react? Business as usual??!!

    There is no way someone outside of China can understand the true extent of the horror of the Cultural Revolution.

    NY Times has never reported on the true stories of the Cultural Revolution. Many in the west buy contemporary "art" depicting fetishized images from the Cultural Revolution, to the horror of those who were eye witnesses to the calamity.

    Everyone, from China to the west, is complacent in keeping its memory under the wraps. That is the inconvenient truth!

  68. So Papa Xi is routing out corruption in China? Gee, great news! Does this mean we will will now see a sharp decrease in wholesale theft by China of U.S. intellectual property costing us in the neighborhood of $300,000,000,000 annually? (yes, count carefully, that is billions, not millions.)

    The Chinese cyber attacks against United States commercial businesses, military computers, media (such as the NY Times) and industrial research and technologies constitutes a staggeringly vast network of thievery sanctioned by the Chinese government. Can the Chinese economy survive as something more than a culture based upon theft?

    Papa Xi, we are waiting for you to demonstrate this new found moral rectitude to us, and very soon.

  69. you might make some legitimate points, but I don't think any American should be whining about other countries' cyber attacks or industrial spying...

  70. I should've added it seems to be a blind spot for americans who often complain when other countries do the same thing the united states is already doing--often in spades.

  71. And the United States never stole anything? How about an entire continent.
    Xi has a lot on his menu. Going to win some, going to lose some. History suggests who is doing the writing will say whether he was right or not. Won't be around for that moment but come on Xi the ultimate victory. In Canada we can drink water from out kitchen taps. How are your countrymen doing?

  72. It’s time for Mao Tse Tung to be unseated as a national role model if China is to play a constructive role in the 21st century. Xi Jinping is a good choice – hopefully, the first of many – to replace the dangerous appeal of Chairman Mao. The Chinese psyche has yet to adjust to the reality that Mao killed millions of his own people and is, therefore, undeserving of being a source of national inspiration. More Xi Jinpings in China’s future could help the national psyche detach itself from misplaced affection for Mao and view the current and next generations of leaders as better role models.

    Mao’s legacy, to its credit, is the foundation of Chinese nationalism. As China undergoes profound social and economic changes, nationalism can serve as an anchor for stability and national unity. But even nationalism bears the threat of destroying the very country it once inspired. While the Chinese appear willing to have the legacies of Xi Jinping, and those of his successors, gradually replace the questionable one of a powerful icon, they would be equally wise to keep a tab on a product of Mao’s mixed legacy: Nationalism. The temptation to abuse it will not merely undo Mao's entire legacy but also the country it has inspired.

  73. "It’s time for Mao Tse Tung to be unseated as a national role model if China is to play a constructive role in the 21st century."

    It already happened in China. In today's China, Mao is not a role model at all. He is a mixed person to most Chinese.

    But you're also right: It hasn't yet happened, in the mindset of US media. :)

  74. Don't be fooled. Xi is no mass murderer, but he's determined to maintain a one-party state, and devoted to the idea that China should dominate Asia and, eventually, the world. The idea that China will ever be a constructive power helping to shape a global order than benefits all humanity is simply false.

  75. You make him sound like a Republican!

  76. If Mao, Chou En Lai and their Cultural Revolution took 30 million lives, what is going to be the toll this time?

  77. As with Mao, "absolute power corrupts absolutely".

  78. Yeah, you Americans should know a thing or two about that!

  79. Mr. Xi is a child of the Cultural Revolution (1968). His generation upended Chinese society -- even purged the Communist Party of Communists! -- to promote the cult of Mao.

    Let's hope the US State Department, NYT and the rest of the Eastern Establishment don't require a decade to parse the mechanics of totalitarian rule -- yet again.

  80. And his very own father Xi Zhongxun was purged, jailed and persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. It beggars belief.

  81. This article does everything that a writer is taught not to do: misrepresent facts, over-generalize, take quotes out of context, lie by omission, do little to no research, oversimplify, propagandize, reinforce the deeply entrenched Western mentality of a "big, bad, communist China" as its motive, use superficial evidence to arrive at a grand conclusion, demonstrate ignorance, stereotype 1.5 billion people, write about a non-story, use details that seem as if one has barely stepped into the country and already claim to know it, force political motives into things which are meant to be innocent, etc., etc., etc.

  82. Watching the new purges and the greater control over information might lead one to believe that maybe every motive may not be so "innocent".

  83. Care to list even one example from a verifiable source (Sorry, the Global Times, Xinhua , China Daily, etc... don't count for obvious reasons), to support your claims?

  84. Let me hear him share his thoughts on Tiananmen Square on Chinese television before I form a firm opinion.

  85. Xi has made his position on Tiananmen quite clear on Chinese media. Airbrushing is the word.

  86. I found this article to be both fair and informative. Based on my experience living here (in China), Xi's popularity among the masses is nothing short of complete. While criticizing the Communist Party among friends has always been acceptable, criticizing Xi Jinping is basically taboo, which I find interesting. To me, it seems obvious that most of his policies (even those that are seemingly in the best interest of China) are designed to consolidate his own hold on power, but this notion is simply not something that most Chinese people are interested in entertaining, for better or worse. On the other hand. as this article showed, thinkers and those well versed in history are understandably concerned at Xi's approach to governing and are basically the only ones sounding alarm bells over the dangers of developing cults around the leaders.

  87. When the CCP indicated Xi Jinping as the next president, a Chinese diplomat told me something interesting about his unique political style. That is, a politician more concerned about the people and less interested about economic affairs. A populist politician according to western political wonks.

    President Xi Jinping is the right leader at the right time as China undergoes a macroeconomic rebalancing moving from an export-based economy into a consumer oriented one.

  88. Such insight into President Xi! You tap at the right note!!

  89. Having recently worked in China for a few years, I can assure you that true grit of who and what China is will not be know until they experience the big inevitable burst of their financial bubble.
    Away from the Politburo, corruption is rampant amongst the local governing crony party leaders and the local crony party business leaders. Ghost cities and massive ghost high rise housing complexes pepper the landscape backed by unsecured loans. I often wondered how the companies I was inspecting and developing could be in the financial black when under that exact same circumstances of a Capitalist West would be bleeding red or seeking bankruptcy protection.
    This article represents to me a comic book interpretation of the, "Head of the Dragon" yet fails to acknowledge the dragon is made of paper!

  90. Don't understand how you can work in China "for a few years" and come up with what I can only call a little bit of garbage. It is obvious corruption may be widespread but is there not the same in the USA or UK or anywhere else such as India? As for the "burst of financial bubble", you only have to look at the multiple financial bursts in the West which rebounded around the world. Juan, you have got the wrong end of the stick...perhaps you thought it was Spanish.

  91. True. What you have described will become a huge problem for the Chinese government but I would imagine the "Sovereign Fund" from their central government will take care of it. Just look at the billions and billions of money China has injected into those South American countries.

  92. Oh, please. He is nothing more than a communist.

  93. People are lulled into complacency when they get free stuff. Nothing new here - it's a fact as old as government itself. The Party knows this and uses it to great self-advantage.

    As the economy slows down the people will realize they've been played and will start asking more critical questions about why the Party deserves uncontested power. The ensuing debate will not, suffice it to say, be pretty. We can only hope the people gain power through peaceful means.

  94. As I read through the comments here all I can say, being a student of authentic non-Western textbook anti Communist at all costs Chinese history for more than a few years now and by travelling to China seven times and having many friends there, is that there is a staggering lack of realistic understanding of the people, culture and modern history of China. The level of ignorance of the facts and reality of China is totally amazing. A few notes just to start things off: modern China has had the fastest growth of any modern economy in history, the improvement in standard of living for most of the 1.2 billion Chinese is unparalleled, all of this occurred without any real assistance from the West, in comparison with India and Taiwan although Democratic and with huge help from the US, these two other countries are a collective travesty both politically, and economically. And not all Chinese are fans of Xi Jinping at all, as a matter of fact many believe he is a meddler and too power hungry. But for the vast majority of Chinese they will never forget that Mao Zedong took them from being an occupied (by both the Japanese military and western colonialism), tortured, backward, poor and fragmented country and put them on the path of independence, cohesion, strength and modernity. And by the way almost no one blames him personally for the famine in the early 1960's. They blame the Soviet Russians, the weather and unscrupulous, deceiving local Communist Party Officials.

  95. I hear you, but not blaming Mao for the death of millions is cognitive dissonance in its most fantastical form.

  96. Right. Thanks to currency manipulation, huge tariffs on imports and government subsidies. It's a bubble and it's about to burst.

  97. "As I read through the comments here all I can say, being a student of authentic non-Western textbook anti Communist at all costs Chinese history for more than a few years now and by travelling to China seven times and having many friends there, is that there is a staggering lack of realistic understanding of the people, culture and modern history of China."

    I agree with this statement. The article is funny. Image reading this story from a foreign media, but with Xi replaced by Obama and Chinese replaced by American, that's how funny it is.

    As for Xi, he is like a common guy. That's why many people like him, IMHO.

  98. As the Russians believe they own Crimea and Ukraine , the Chinese believe they own Tibet. Personality cults are inherently ridiculous, often dangerous, wherever they happen.

  99. A personality cult. It's easier to deal with than, say, British parliamentary democracy.

  100. On any given day I can pull up and find at least 3 articles on Bibi Netanyahu or Vladimir Putin. I almost never see articles like this one. Xi is one of the most powerful people on the planet yet the American media gives him far less coverage than is needed.

  101. A better title for this article should be: "In the Steps of Dear Mao"
    President Jin-Xi should be welcomed to the 'growing list' of budding/established autocrats: Vladimir Putin(Russia); Kim-Jong-Un (North Korea); Ali Khamenei (Iran); Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (Egypt); Nicolas Maduro (Venezuela); Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Turkey); Bashar-al-Assad(Syria).....

  102. He reminds me of Reagan.

  103. Let us all hope and pray that the evil and violent cult of Communism is vanquished in China and Chinese get to taste the sweet nectar of true Democracy. Chinese as a race have suffered enormous torture over several thousands of years under brutal kings, rampaging northern mongol war lords and now even monstrous Communists.

  104. Just like any theory, democracy is based on certain assumptions. If those assumptions do not hold, democracy will fail terribly. A good example of how democracy has failed the US can be seen in the city Washington, D.C., under home rule by the mayor Marion Barry in the late 80's and early 90's. Even after Mr. Barry was convicted of cocaine use, the voters in Washington D.C. continued to support and vote for him. Under his rule, the garbage in the city was left uncollected and the rats roamed the city. Eventually, the US federal government had no choice but to take away his power and effectively make him a mayor in name only, even though he's an elected official, and installed an appointed committee to run the city. Whether the sweet nectar is sustaining or harmful, depends on whether the person has low sugar level or high sugar level. Democracy can be a medicine that saves lives, but it can also be a poison that stunts a country's development and even kills people. Just look at how well democracy is working in the states where voters have legalized the use of marijuana as a recreational drug in the US, without carefully thinking about the consequences.

  105. I see that individual expression and criticism of the Chinese Government and its leaders is as pervasive as ever: "Li Datong, a political commentator in Beijing, said many of those who came of age in the 1960s and ’70s were especially unsettled. “It’s ridiculous that he’s pulling the personal cult ploy,” he said. “The Chinese propaganda apparatus, with its instinct of sucking up to the supreme leader, is partly to blame, but the problem is that he hasn’t moved to stop it. Obviously he is indulging this, which to be honest makes us very uneasy.”

  106. I have not read a NYT article in the past 5 years that does not bash China. The idea that a propaganda machine is pushing up the approval numbers of Xi is just insane. In fact his words are less quoted than his actions. He has taken down tens of thousands of corrupt officials in China. Imagine if we in America had a leader that brought down ONE corrupt official. I am an American and I am completely impressed with Mr. Xi Jinping as a human being.

    (on a side note.....for the New York Times to accuse any publication of being propaganda is beyond hypocritical. There is not a more "pro Israel" and "scare mongering" newspaper on the planet.)

  107. NYT, like China's People's Daily is just another propaganda machine controlled by elites to "brainwash" American citizens. The US Government/Congress leveraged NYT to manipulate American opinions by selectively leaking biased news to NYT, AP and other national media outlets.

    For Americans who care about international politics, other cultures and different perspectives of geopolitical incidents but can not speak languages other than English, Toronto-based the Globe and Mail and BBC International English Services are a bit less biased.

  108. Xi still has 8 more years in office. Time will tell whether this lavishness of adulation on him will last. Again it's the Communist Party, which is behind this slick propaganda. Ordinary Chinese don't mind it, as long as their economy doesn't suffer. In retrospect they see the leadership of Hu Jintao as "dreary, plodding".
    But Hu meant what he said: "Scientific Outlook on Development". Under him China became the world's second largest economy and an industrial goliath. It had also launched a more assertive foreign policy while simultaneously assuring other nations of its intended peaceful rise. Hu kept his distance from the media. That's why people found him aloof! The only blame he had to take was the rampant corruption and economic growth to the detriment of China's environment, which Xi is taking on to justify his agenda, while tapping into Mao's legacy!
    That's a danger that Xi indulges this adulation so much that he may lose touch with reality.

  109. As my parents say, Mao was a hero in 1948, but unfortunately he ruled almost another 3-decades afterwards and left China and its people in shambles! The China of today is probably more from the efforts of Deng Xiaoping rather than Mao Zedong, although Deng is a rather unpopular figure in the West because of the massacre at Tiananmen Square. I think Xi Jinping's rule has thus far been more characterized by the old Maoist impulse to turn China inwards, rather than Deng's more outwardly attitude towards the rest of the world, especially the West. This probably has a lot to do with his popular appeal, by creating this "us against them" mentality, not unlike what Putin is doing in Russia right now. This creates a very nationalistic attitude, and allowing him even greater control over power in China. The downside to this strategy is very much like every dictator that's ever tried it in the past, the nationalist sentiment may grow beyond the control of the dictator and jeopardize the country's legitimacy on the world stage. In the end, the rule of law cannot be placed in the hands of a single person; no matter his popularity!

  110. Hero worship reflects an infantile and sheepish mentality.

  111. It wasn't so long ago when Wen Jiabao was object of similar mass adulation. If anything the cult of personality around Grandpa Wen well exceeds what you see with Xi. Of course his star fell hard and fast after the NYT exposed his wife and his family's massive corruption.

  112. Can he clean up the air so his country can breathe? Can he clean up the corruption so the economy can flourish? Otherwise, his image is puffery, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. (The PRC's treatment of Hong Kong will be the harbinger and touchstone of the ultimate success of Xi's regime.)

  113. Papa Xi populism is not benign. I am not as optimistic as some other commnetators. Xi clearly intends to build the Chinese economy and military and use it to dominate Southeast Asia, including Taiwan and the Phillipines and neutralize Japan. His goal is to minimize US influence in the South Pacific and worry India and Australia. Like Putin, Xi is crushing dissent and using nationalism as a means to gain popular support for "muscular diplomacy." Liberal democracies face major challenges from a nationalistic and militaristic China in Southeast Asia and a Russia in Eastern Europe.

  114. American public figures engage in the same thing and the media, including The New York Times, facilitates the process. Thus public opinion is mobilized in democracies, such as they are. Actually, there is no way out of it; even the best ideas cannot be implemented without public support. The China Dream is pretty tame compared to Manifest Destiny.

  115. Locals don't buy those trinkets depicted in your photographs; tourists do.

  116. What has impressed me recently is the influx of immigrant Chinese here on the West Coast. Are they fleeing Xi or spreading his message? If this man is to leave his mark on history, he should control the pollution in the skies of his country and drifting across the Pacific. So far, I like him--and I think Barack has a good take on him. It's time for Europe to grow up. The U.S. should now look westward.

  117. Xi is clearly consolidating power and using propaganda to his advantage.

    He is puging officials under the guise of corruption, but he is also sending a very strong message to all of the others to tone down their greed. Sales of luxury goods, expensive wines and liquor and lavish dinners, weddings, etc have all dropped significantly.

    He is promoting nationalism on different levels and gaining support of the public. He is being openly provocative in delineating Chinese territories, particular in the South China Sea. He is making sales of foreign technology difficult by playing up security concerns, but generally assisting domestic industries. This nationalism is gaining him points with the public.

    He is addressing environmental problems more than anyone has previously, putting some teeth into regulations.

    He needs to steer a large economy in a new direction, away from low margin export businesses to consumer and innovative, high value add businesses.

    Xi is a leader to not underestimate. Having come up through the ranks of the Chinese government and politics, he is much less of an amateur than some of the Presidents we have had lately.

  118. China has the biggest economy in the world, the fastest growing economy and is the second most populous country behind India.

    Mr. Xi, hence, is the most powerful man in the entire world.

  119. It would be fabulous (and most welcome) if the Times did a weekly series on all the world leaders. Learning how the people in their countries feel about their leaders and, how each government chooses to promote the people in charge would help Americans understand the real world. Just as political parties (and big money) elect our officials, we need to understand how/if is the same elsewhere. In some places it would be difficult to speak with "average people" but that is important to report also.

  120. This writer glosses over the severe censorship of ideas in China, and many of the supportive comments are obviously written by party hacks. Their stilted English will always give them away!

    China is a dreary place where the average white collar worker makes $1000us a month if they are lucky! With the average big city apartment renting for that, and selling for 3 to 500,000.

    They are not allowed to mention God in schools, churches outside the international cities are strictly controlled and even destroyed.

    The greedy capitalists of the west have almost hung themselves with the rope they sold to China. Until the there is intellectual and spiritual freedom, the cheap cut rate material goods they buy and sell are of no importance!

    Go Hong Kong! Fight the interference of the PRC. They have nothing to offer except censorship, narrow mindedness, and as we saw in the 50s and 60s, 30 million dead!!

  121. I consider myself a withering critic of the form of government that has developed in the United States since we became an empire after World War II. It's nice to be reminded that other great states have even more stomach-turning ways of bamboozling the citizenry.

  122. Mao said "Chinese people have stood up" more than sixty years ago. And he has been treated as the greatest leader for over fifty years. But the disasters he had created to Chinese is unprecedented.

    During the great leap forward more than forty million people were died of hungry. The great cultural revolution has delayed the China development more a decade and millions of people perished with no reason. It is best represented by the book "Life and Death in Shanghai" by Nien Cheng.

    The fundamental problem is that Chinese people treated Mao as a God. But Mao is no God.

    What reported here is that China tries to create another God, Xi Jinping. As a human being I only can hope Chinese is not stupid this time.

  123. As I say to my wife who is Chinese, "what China needs is a genuine democratic socialist revolution". It would be good to see a society where corruption, nepotism and cronyism, not to mention the excesses of state capitalism are curtailed. To call this place a 'communist' country and President Xi Jinping, a communist is nothing short of risible. I am sure that this concept would have Karl Marx turning in his grave.

    I consider myself to be something of a democratic socialist but I fear that if I was to live in China and to express my opinions there I would soon be arrested and deported.

  124. It was only after China began to loosen the inward view of Mao that things began to roll, economically, for China. It is not as if China, through Communist principles, advanced its population. It is no miracle that this population- closely, efficiently, and forcefully managed as it has been- became an engine for rapid economic growth....once allowed to participate in Western economic enterprise. The question is: Will the Chinese government be able to continue to closely harness individual Chinese in an improving economy?, when economic conditions advance to the point where citizens ponder thoughts beyond where their next meal is going to come from;? are more likely to consider their own abilities rather than direct their attention to thoughts like "can the government solve my problems?" There is no mystery here. Of course Mr. Xi is purposefully trying to create a cult mentality. It is the only chance he has of maintaining control over an advancing China.

    How is Xi Jinping's embrace of populism affecting political development in China? Well, how does populism affect political development in any part of the world? It stifles it..... But how else can a leader maintain power in a rapidly developing nation?

    It is not necessary to travel to China to understand the benefits political leaders see in creating an "us against them" mentality.....You can do it from your living room in Peoria, Illinois.

    Didn't Joe Stalin take down "corrupt official?"

  125. Whether it be Putin or Xi, it is obvious that the appeal of a strong, decisive, nationalistic leader is powerful. It's the same in the West - look at the popularity of demagogues like Thatcher. Look at Hitler or Mussolini. Or look at the ridicule George HW Bush got for being a weakling when did not blindly follow this model.

    Almost every country would be much better off with a thoughtful, modest, strategic leader, who would not be swayed by populism, who would not appeal to nationalistic slogans. Someone who will listen to different opinions before deciding, will even change his/her mind if that's the right thing to do, who will take decisions in a timely manner, yes, but will do so for reasons of national well-being rather than image.

    How can we get there? It seems impossible. It seems we're moving in the opposite direction - countries where once debates revolved around issues are more and more focused on personalities and "great leaders".

    On this day in particular, it's worth asking this question in another way: how can we get people with more "stereotypical female" traits into power - leaders who listen, empathise, look for compromise, see negotation as win/win rather than me against you ... It feels like the world would be a much better place ...

  126. In 2001 my wife and I spent 30 days traveling in China. Staying mainly in small village's and about five days in large cities. What impressed us most was the willingness of the Chinese to reach out and the entrepreneurial attitude of the people. How impressed we were to find internet service in rural communities in 2001. Our greatest resource was the local people and young traveling Europeans. What we learned in China was believe what you experience not what you hear or read. People through out the world mostly value family, friends, opportunity and security. Chinese are not any different.

  127. Xi, has been an unrelenting, unapologetic champion of assisting in improving the condition of the black developing World, something the West have Always done for decades, while contradicting itself all the time. I commend his views on Global Racial Equality.

  128. Mao had to murder 60 million Chinese to achieve Godhood.
    In comparison, Xi looks like a real bargain.

  129. leader worship, like hero worship, religion and conservative political dogma, reveals something really basic and irrevocable about human nature.

  130. Xi Jinping is the newest face of what 'cult personality' represents, akin to North Korea's deification of its leader, a vain attempt to give make-believe attributes of omnipotence to a regular human being, who happens to be in charge of the communist party, and in firm control of a large population that has no chance to participate in politics, and unable to decide their own destiny. It is a secular religion, dogmatic, intolerant even to basic human rights and to a minimum of freedom to express themselves. All this is sad, given the economic prowess China commands, while denying their own people the dignity, and say, they deserve. In brief, China will never be able to achieve its potential, as long as the individual is sacrificed in the name of society and 'the greater good'. Never. Even if some humility is restored when Xi Jinping decides to stop his deification.

  131. Only NY Times portraits Papa Xi to chairman Mao. The rest of the world thinks Xi as a formidable leader to deal with. His anti corruption campaign is a great success example to other nations why one needs to do that to win support of the people. This is something we can learn how to improve Washington politician's performance to win our support.

  132. As a Taiwan Hand, I feel a bit happy with the re-maoization of the PRC.

    Though the Taiwanese economy is more involved in China, its citizens --or the atleast the 23 million or so so not in China, have become more wary of Big Brother next door. They take the visitors money, but dont seem to like them very much--my impression gained from my yearly visitisn to the ROC--since 1979. The HK demonstrations and the repression that followed has much to do with this.
    The cult Papa Xi adds to this wariness, though I do think that Thomas Dubois, a student of Pre-modern China, gets things right in in comments--the Papa thing si not big deal and Chiang Ching-kuo ( thesone of and successor to Chiang Kai-shek) played something of that game in the 1970s and 1980s.

    I would also add that the comment on an expansion ofChina into Maritime Southeast Asia is a side of China we have not seen for a while and must monitor closely--certainly Vietnam and the Philippines see this and take it very very seriously.

  133. My brother sent me a subscription to the Wall Street Journal that my wife likes to read to me. Most recently, she read that there is an unfolding a collapse of support from the ultra wealthy, their monies, investments and children to other countries where they can shelter their assets in the midst of unrestrained corruption and an imminent political collapse. How to reconcile that account with this folksy more benign version of communist rule is not within my grasp. Clearly, the perspectives of the authors are radically different but why? The answer is uncomfortable to face. Supply side economics with no restraint of the uberclass drives one perspective while the other flirts with managed economies as a viable model. Where is there an objective and dispassionate view to be found?

  134. Xi copied Obama going to the Five Guys.

  135. Communism created dictators in the past and continue doing so. Cracking on corruption (both financial and political) is always popular mass slogan which was successfully used by generation of Communist dictators: Stalin (Dzhugashvili, Georgian) used it to kill New Economic in late 1920s to start his terror to kill millions of Russian, Ukrainians, Georgians, Tajiks .... Mao did the same in late 1950's to kill even more Chinese.
    The only difference between that times and now is that the West had supplies Chinese communist with all modern technology and know-how. All in exchange for cheep labor and high profits to our super-rich (including politicians!). And it will be next generation which would face an ugly face of super-powerful Communist China - Orwell's 1984 would look like a hopeful prediction compared with the brutal really to come. Scary, but predictable.

  136. Caution is the only thing that comes to my mind. China has two contradictions. One is tight control of policy and the other is Western economic development. It is amazing how much inequality of wealth exists and how much currency is moving Westward. Mr. Xi does have need to control a hotbed of issues that could be as disruptive as Tienanmen. I am certain that the millions of Chinese visitors to the West each year on returning to China have hidden thoughts of greater people's participation in decision making.

  137. I'll be very surprised if, 100 years from now, Chinese President Xi Jinping, or the steamed bun fast food restaurant he visited in a bit of political theater, are celebrated, or much remembered by very many Chinese people, or students of Chinese history in other parts of the world. But Mao Zedong still will be celebrated, and so will the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square.

    Chinese nationalism continues to rise, and has now crowned a new leader with a cult-like status. Personality cults such as the ones in North Korea, and Russia under Putin, paper over their country's massive economic problems, and their lack of international clout. I wonder if this new celebration of 'Papa Xi' isn't a harbinger of similar failings we in the West aren't aware of yet in the land of the dragon. If the Chinese economy falters more than it has in the past few years, nationalism and populism may be replaced among the masses by veiled criticism and dissent, along with more heavy-handed government suppression of the few rights of ordinary Chinese citizens. Tiananmen Square, indeed.

  138. I love seeing America's strength - its appeal to all yearning freedom - personified by the inherent national weakness personified by cults like Putin's, Kim's, and now, Xi's. As long as the US represents humanity's inalienable rights, it will always have the economic, political, and - dare I say it - moral edge over all the "Big Men" who claim to compete with it. This article brings out the patriot in me.

  139. Historically, populist fervor becomes the opiate of the leader....fueling the media spin and propoganda mill will likely not help the Chinese people's desire toward participatory democracy, nor benefit their efforts toward economic globalization.

  140. I'm sure that the farmers and the displaced poor are not taken in by this personality cult idea. Stealing private property and replacing fertile land with condominiums for the wealthy is not the stuff of populist legends.

  141. If I've learned anything from history in my 70 years of living it and reading it, it's this: Fear populism.

  142. Between 1977 and 2014, Gross Domestic Product in China has grown at a yearly average of 9.7% while per capita GDP has grown at an average of 8.7% from 1977 through 2013. Productivity in China is growing dramatically. The development accomplishments of the Chinese these 37 to 38 years have been astonishing, I know of no parallel. The Chinese economy according to the IMF is now bigger than that of the United States.

    I would expect the Chinese leadership, and especially the president, to be highly respected and admired for what has been accomplished. President Xi can reflect past Chinese accomplishments while focusing on reform and be all the more respected and admired.

  143. How not to like a man who is relentless in his crackdown on corruption? If only the POTUS and other world leaders are comparable to him, the world will be happier.

  144. "Not since Mao dominated the nation with his masterly blend of populism, fervor and fear ...": and this is Xi's formula. One only need to look at Tibet and Xinjiang where the latter of Mao's and Xi's three functions of political dominance form the m.o. Tibet has never been less free, with more repression than in decades, less opacity, while the Chinese suck all of the material wealth out of the ground that they can, all the while fabricating a Disneyland "Tibet" for Han tourists, a vacation land sealed off from Westerners. It might just as well be the Cultural Revolution - will there be a Tibet left after the Chinese are finished with it? Or Uighur East Turkestan?

    The 10th of March is National Uprising Day in Tibet - 57 years since Tibetans rose up against communist rule, and it is 66 years since China invaded under the guise of "liberating" their own land from feudalism. 66 years later, Tibet still labors under martial occupation - exactly what kind of liberation is this?