Xi Jinping, the Revered

Wherever there are Chinese, they cannot forget that Xi is the leader of the party, the party is the ruler of China, and China will dominate the world with the ancient civilization returning to its former prominence as the Middle Kingdom.

[Felix Imonti]

Xi is imposing upon China an imperial rule with a rigid Maoist ideology that extends beyond China’s borders.

What Xi learned from the days of the Cultural Revolution turmoil was to be more Communist than Marx and more Communist Party than Mao. It is this man who has risen to become the Chairman of the Communist Party of China. Far more, he has been anointed with the honorific of “The Revered Fatherly Leader.” Only Mao had been given such a standing. It means that Xi’s words are never to be questioned.

The anti-corruption purge that started as soon as Xi acquired his offices in 2012 is sweeping away any opposition. Xi is appointing to important positions men who survived the Cultural Revolution where they learned the art of submission to authority.

He is known as the “chairman of everything,” because he has been gathering into his hands the important levers of power. He is the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Chairman of the Central Military Commission, a Member of the Politburo Standing Committee, Chairman of the National Security Committee, Head of the Central Leading Group for Foreign Affairs and National Security, Head of the Central Leading Group for Taiwan Affairs, Commander in Chief of the Joint Operations Command Center of the People’s Liberation Army and more.

During the National People’s Congress (NPC) in October of 2017, Xi’s failure to mention his successor was an implied hint to his intention to remain the chairman of the Communist Party for as long as he chooses; and the NPC has granted him a limitless reign.

The lesson learned from the collapse of the Soviet Union was the need to have the party retain absolute control. It is extending that control beyond the borders of China to university campuses around the world where Chinese students are being forced into party cells to assure their continued loyalty. If they waver from their dedication to the Party, they will answer for it upon their return to China. They are expected to report any of their colleagues who deviate from the Party doctrine.

Wherever there are Chinese, they cannot forget that Xi is the leader of the party, the party is the ruler of China, and China will dominate the world with the ancient civilization returning to its former prominence as the Middle Kingdom.

When Xi delivers his lengthy speeches, they are decorated by references drawn straight out of the glorious past. He pledges to accomplish the building of the national prosperity and the global domination by the one hundredth anniversary of the successful Communist Revolution in 1949.

As China goes through the third phase of its transformation — from the chaos of a century of humiliation by the foreigners through the rigid Communist rule under Mao to the reforms of Deng Xiaoping that has raised China from isolation and poverty to the second largest economy in the world to the merging of Maoist orthodoxy with Xi Jinping market socialism — China must remain Chinese.

The restoration of the [China-led] Silk Road and the development of a modern [Chinese] military with a global reach is a part of China’s greater plan to draw through the spread of Chinese technology and credit control over the weaker neighbors.

For these purposes, China will need a strong leader without the distraction of changing leadership. The governing circles need continuity. This will require a modern emperor to have an appropriate ideology. The new emperor will issue the guidelines and the people will follow. They will be prosperous so long as they obey. There will be no compromise. Absolute rulers must rule absolutely.

Donald Trump has confronted the new Chinese emperor on multiple fronts. Trump has challenged Xi to respond or submit to his superior strength byba numbers of means, from raising the diplomatic standing of Taiwan that Beijing considers to be an internal matter and a core interest, to challenging Chinese control over islands in the South China Sea that have been elevated to a core interest, to imposing tariffs upon Chinese products. The newly anointed ruler, Xi, has no choice but to try and defeat what is taken as a threat. To do otherwise will strengthen his opposition within the party and weaken his standing with the people.

A trade war between these two largest economies of the world has already begun. The Chinese ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, warned that China is holding nineteen percent of US Treasury bonds and could reduce purchases at a time of an increasing US budget deficit. If the resulting higher interest rates do not curb Donald Trump’s challenges, China could push down the exchange rate of the Yuan and turn a trade war into a currency war that would spread worldwide, and would draw the EU, Japan and others into the race to the bottom.

Already, China has nullified trade agreements that were decided during recent negotiations and has retaliated by imposing tariffs upon US products.

During May, the Chinese Navy conducted live fire exercises in the Taiwan Straits and Chinese bombers circumnavigated Taiwan. It was not only a warning to the Taiwanese to curb their move to declare independence, but also a warning to Washington. Are US armed forces personnels ready to die for Taiwan?

The same question can be asked about the numerous islands in the South China Sea that China has created or allegedly seized. Washington has been sending naval vessels through the disputed waters to defy Beijing’s claim to the control of the waters. In spite of the US’s protests, China continues to turn the islands into forward military positions. Is Donald Trump prepared to drive the Chinese from the islands by military force or will he settle for bluster?

Xi Jinping has nothing to do other than to respond to Donald Trump and Trump has talked his way into a diplomatic trap. If he raises the tariffs higher and provokes a global trade war, he appears to be reckless. If he only flexes his noise about the islands or Taiwan, he looks weak before the new Chinese emperor. One road takes him to humiliation; the other road takes him to conflict with an uncertain outcome.

Donald J. Trump needs to learn that noise is not strength.

Author Avatar | Oped Column SyndicationFelix Imonti studied international relations at UCLA. He lives in Canada where he spends his time investing, writing and arguing with his six year old Dobermann.

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