2020 marks the seventh year for Xi Jinping as the President of China. World media has documented his meteoric rise to power in the world’s second largest economy with a lot of detail. In India though Xi has been a personality surrounded by doubt and mistrust. Things seemed to be improving for Xi during the Xi-Modi informal summits, but things took a turn for the worse after the multiple military incursions by the PLA in Ladakh. Beyond the image of Xi Jinping as an authoritarian dictator and regional bully, many of us have very little knowledge of Xi Jinping as a cult figure in China. This article compiles a list of very interesting yet controversial things about Xi Jinping as a Communist leader.
Xi is a princeling in the CCP
The descendants of prominent communist leaders in China are informally known as the Red Princelings or just as the Princelings. It is a controversial term used to describe people who benefit from nepotism within the party and are directly compared to the power structures present in hereditary monarchies. Red Princelings are people who hold powerful political as well as business positions in China, primarily due to their lineage. The group is particularly powerful due to the level of access they have within the highest echelons of the CCP.
This access can be used by companies or businessmen to lobby for favourable outcomes. It is common knowledge that the Princelings hold various high-ranking offices for which normal workers would have to struggle for decades. Many of them are even appointed to such high-ranking positions in their thirties. Xi is counted as one of the many Princelings alongside Bo Xilai, the son of Bo Yibo, a prominent leader during the 1980s and 1990s. Xi’s father Xi Zhongxun was born in a land-owning family in rural China and has held several high-ranking positions in the Chinese government.
Xi wasn’t a farm labourer by choice
After assuming office as the President in 2013, Xi has encouraged the creation of a personality cult around him. The centrepiece of this being the six years he spent in rural China as a humble, hard working farm labourer. What it does not highlight is the fact that Xi was forcibly sent to the Liangjiahe village in Yanchuan County as part of Mao Zedong’s ‘Down to the Countryside Movement.’ In 1998 in an essay titled “Son of the Yellow Earth,” Xi himself wrote that he could not stand the fleas, the poor food, the farm work, and after a few months, ran away to Beijing. He was later arrested during a crackdown on deserters.
Xi’s father was jailed by the Communist Party
Xi Jinping’s father, Xi Zhongxun was a prominent communist leader of his time. During the Cultural Revolution initiated by Mao Zedong, he was arrested and jailed in Beijing in 1968. During this time, student militants destroyed Xi’s family home and as a result one of his sisters, Xi Heping, committed suicide. The party also forced his mother to publicly denounce his father as an enemy of the revolution. Xi Zhongxun regained his freedom in 1975 and later held important positions in the Chinese government.
Xi was rejected by the CCP 7 times
While he was exiled to the countryside, Xi tried to become a member of the Chinese Communist Party. He was rejected no less than 7 times before he befriended a local official and became a member of the Communist Youth League of China in 1971. In 1974, he gained full Party membership and became secretary of the village. He was rejected these many times due to the controversial status of his father.
Xi once stayed with an American family
In 1985, Xi Jinping was part of a Chinese delegation that was sent to the USA to learn local agricultural practices. During these two weeks he stayed in the home of an American family in Muscatine, Iowa. In 2012, Xi invited this American family on a 10-day tour to China.
Xi headed the controversial 6521 Project
The 6521 Project was a high-level committee in the CCP headed by Xi Jinping to ensure ‘social stability’ during 2009. The year marked numerous anniversaries of politically controversial events in China’s history and the committee was created to crack down on dissenting voices. The year marked the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, 50th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising, 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, and the 10th anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong – a popular religious movement in China.
The first digits of these anniversaries were taken to create the name of the project. The Tiananmen Square massacre is a highly controversial subject in China and all attempts have been made by the government to stop Chinese citizens from learning the truth about the historic student protests that were brutally suppressed by the Chinese military.
Xi hates Winnie the Pooh
One of the strangest things that is censored in China is the comparison between Xi Jinping and the famous animated character from Disney called Winnie the Pooh. This started during his visit to the United States where he was photographed walking alongside Barack Obama and was compared to Pooh walking with Tigger, another animated character. Some of these popular memes are among the most censored images in China.