Standing at the Gate of Heavenly Peace, President Xi Jinping delivered his ‘malice in wonderland speech’ to celebrate the centenary of the Communist Party of China.
A crowd of 70,000 was carefully selected to hear his master’s voice in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on Thursday.
They were left in a red rapture as General-Secretary Xi stood under a portrait of Chairman Mao wearing a replica of his gray suit amid tight security.
His words were predictable. He air-brushed the Party’s brutal history since gaining power in 1949 and glossed over the CCP’s suffocating grip on the world’s second-largest economy.
At the heart of his address was the historic fear of “foreign forces” interfering in China’s “domestic affairs.” Real or imagined.
Like Alice, Xi scrambled down a rabbit hole signposted geopolitics.
“We will not accept sanctimonious preaching from those who feel they have the right to lecture us. We have never bullied, oppressed, or subjugated the people of any other country, and we never will,” he said to wild applause.
“By the same token, we will never allow anyone to bully, oppress, or subjugate [China]. Anyone who tries will find them on a collision course with a steel wall forged by 1.4 billion people,” Xi added, in a reference to major democracies such as the United States and its allies.
But in his alternative world, there was no mention of the “oppressed” and “bullied” at home or the surveillance state that is now the People’s Republic of China.
There was no mention of a government that controls every aspect of life in the country.
What Xi did not say
- The Party’s gray men have a claustrophobic stranglehold on society.
- They control the government, the judiciary, the media and academia.
- Every institution in China is aligned to the CCP, “independence” is a word rarely mentioned.
- The army and the security forces serve the Party, not the people.
- The CCP has no mandate from the ballot box.
- It uses repression to control ethnic areas such as Xinjiang.
- As for the Party’s blood-splattered history, Mao’s Great Leap Forward triggered the Great Famine that killed up to 45 million Chinese citizens between 1959 and 1961.
- The Cultural Revolution just years later wrecked society and the economy, plunging the country into chaos.
- The Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 is now in the annals of infamy after the brutal repression of peaceful protests for greater democracy.
What Xi did say
One-Party rule: “We are now marching in confident strides toward the second centenary goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects,” Xi said.
Economic miracle: “We have brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China,” he added.
Global image: “[Under] the firm leadership of the Party, the image China presents to the world today is of a thriving nation that is advancing with unstoppable momentum towards rejuvenation,” Xi said.
Taiwan threat: “No one should underestimate the resolve, the will and ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he pointed out in a reference to unification with democratic Taiwan.
Hong Kong crackdown: “While protecting China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests, we will ensure social stability in Hong Kong, and maintain lasting prosperity and stability in the special administrative region,” Xi said in his speech.
Reaction to Xi’s address
Winds of change: Cai Xia, a retired professor from Beijing’s elite Central Party School, was forced into exile last year because of her political views. She is convinced the Chinese people are desperate for a more open society.
Democratic system: “It’s not too late to change China from an autocratic system to a democratic system. The earlier the better, for China and the whole world. Even though Xi Jinping calls for a ‘shared future for all mankind,’ he has already launched the Cold War and it never stops,” Cai told the BBC television network.
Truth and lies: “Concealing the truth comes naturally to a government that maintains a monopoly over all information within [and outside] the country,” Zeus Hans Mendez, of the Centre for Security Studies at the Jindal Global University’s School of International Affairs in India, said.
Dodgy data: “Manipulation of data can have serious ramifications on [China’s] real [economic] performance. In addition to local governments manipulating data, there is a discrepancy between underlying economic activity and GDP figures. [This] has allowed the government to ignore bad investments and project only the figures it approves of,” Mendez wrote in a commentary for Modern Diplomacy last year.
Delve even deeper
Altered state: We should not be surprised by President Xi’s rhetoric or the state of China’s relations with the rest of the world. He talks about “multinationalism” and “friendship,” while stamping on human rights at home and trashing international law abroad.
Flashpoints: The Party leadership has turned Hong Kong into a “police state” while creating an “open prison” in Xinjiang. More than one million Uighur Muslims have been held in internment camps. At the same time, Xi’s policies in the South China Sea have threatened to destabilize the region. Threats against democratic Taiwan have also increased.
China Factor comment: If there is a “bully” running rampant in the world, it was created by the Communist Party of China.