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World View: China’s President Xi Jinping Given Dictatorial Powers

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • China’s president Xi Jinping given dictatorial powers
  • China permits Philippines to fish in Scarborough Shoal

China’s president Xi Jinping given dictatorial powers

Xi Jinping and wife, popular folk singer Peng Liyuan (Chinese Hour, 2012)
Xi Jinping and wife, popular folk singer Peng Liyuan (Chinese Hour, 2012)

China now has a need of a “strongman leader” or “Great Leader,” the first since Mao Zedong, according to Chinese state media, so that China can again rise to greatness.

Apparently that wish has been granted by last week’s four-day sixth plenum of the Central Committee, which issued a statement granting China’s president Xi Jinping the role of “core of the leadership,” giving Xi unchallenged personal authority in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Ever since taking office in 2012, Xi has led a breathtaking anti-corruption drive that has punished more than one million officials for such crimes as bribery and abuse of power. Xi’s opponents claim that the anti-corruption campaign was really a purge of political rivals, which is certainly true, given that Xi is a politician.

According to professor David Zweig of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology professor, Xi has been making powerful enemies:

The risk is that you will take power to yourself, undermine the power bases of the people beneath you…

Everyone in the Politburo has their networks, even in the Standing Committee of the Politburo, so if you give all the power to one guy you give him the power to push your people out and push his people through.

“Entrenched resistance was strong but if you really want to see China reform, you want to take some power away (from those) who protect their vested interests, like the state enterprises.

The contrast is to Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, who did not have the “core of the leadership” blessing, but instead was “first among equals,” meaning that he had to rule by consensus. Xi has taken advantage of the anti-corruption drive to push his political enemies out and replace them with his acolytes, which means that he can rule in a dictatorial manner, without as much of a consensus.

As long-time readers know, Generational Dynamics predicts that China is headed for two wars — an internal civil war, the first major civil war since the Communist revolution, and an external war, leading a world war with the United States, their first world war since World War II. These two wars are not inconsistent with each other, any more than the Communist Revolution and World War II were not inconsistent with each other. Xi can similarly expect to be fighting two wars — an internal civil war and an external world war with the United States. South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and Washington Post and SCMP (23-Oct) and BBC (24-Oct)

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China permits Philippines to fish in Scarborough Shoal

A week ago, Philippine president Rodrigo R. Duterte visited China and said “I announce my separation from the United States. Both in military… not maybe social, but economics also, America has lost. I will be dependent on you.” This was after calling President Obama the “son of a whore.”

Now China’s president Xi Jinping has apparently waved his magic wand and granted a reward to Duterte — China’s warships have withdrawn from Scarborough Shoal, allowing Philippines fishermen to fish there for the first time since 2012.

Scarborough Shoal is an island off the coast of Manila and far from China’s shores. Philippine fishermen fished there for centuries, until blocked by the Chinese.

In its July 12 ruling on the South China Sea, the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration eviscerated China’s claims to the South China Sea, and said:

[The Tribunal] FINDS that Scarborough Shoal has been a traditional fishing ground for fishermen of many nationalities and DECLARES that China has, through the operation of its official vessels at Scarborough Shoal from May 2012 onwards, unlawfully prevented fishermen from the Philippines from engaging in traditional fishing at Scarborough Shoal.

So China has rewarded the Philippines by granting to them rights that they were legally entitled to anyway.

Among the Philippine people, 54% have a favorable view of China, while 92% have a favorable view of the United States, so it won’t be very long before Duterte is forced to make some policy change that will infuriate the Chinese, and the warships could come back quickly. To paraphrase an old saying, Duterte should remember this: “The Xi giveth, and the Xi taketh away.” Manila Bulletin and Reuters and The Diplomat

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KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, Mao Zedong, Xi Jinping, Peng Liyuan, David Zweig, Hu Jintao, Philippines, Rodrigo R. Duterte, Scarborough, United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration
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