The Cult of Xi: How the Chinese President is Forcing Party Secretaries to Sing His Praises

In recent years, China’s President Xi Jinping has been the subject of increasing amounts of praise and adulation within the country. From state media to local officials, the message is clear: Xi is a transformative leader who is steering China towards a brighter future.

As the cult of personality around Xi continues to grow, there are growing concerns about the extent to which this praise is being forced and manufactured. It is pertinent to examine how Xi is using his power to tighten his grip on the party and promote a cult of personality that rivals those of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, and what it implies for the future of China and the world.

In 2023 alone, party secretaries in Fujian, Sichuan, Inner Mongolia, Anhui, and Yunnan have eagerly lauded Party General Secretary Xi Jinping in the state media outlet People’s Daily. The competition to demonstrate loyalty to Xi by blindly praising his accomplishments and ideology is almost disappointing.

The Fujian Party Secretary Zhou Zuyi’s work, published first among all others, is nothing but a blatant display of sycophancy and propaganda for Xi Jinping. He showers Xi with over-the-top titles such as “People’s leader” and repeatedly invokes the CCP’s political slogans of “Two Establishments” and “Two Safeguards” to reinforce Xi’s grip on power. It is clear that Zhou’s primary motive is to legitimize Xi’s rule, portraying him as the CCP’s core and Central Committee’s heart, with his so-called “thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for the New Era.” All the while, Zhou is exploiting this opportunity to advance his own political agenda by pushing for cross-integration, making Fujian a hub for Taiwan, and promoting a false image of spiritual harmony.

The Sichuan Party Secretary, Wang Xiaohui’s writing echoed the same political narrative, dutifully upholding the ‘Two Establishments’ and exploiting Deng Xiaoping’s ‘Four Modernizations’ as a guise for pushing their own province’s development. Meanwhile, Sun Shaocheng, the Inner Mongolia Party Secretary, demonstrates his loyalty to Xi Jinping in his article by pledging obedience to the leader’s instructions on ethnic affairs, including the persistent issue of unrestrained growth and the wasteful utilization of resources.

The Anhui Party Secretary, Zheng Shanjie, in his publication, not only echoed the rhetoric of the ‘Two Establishments’ but also pushes for the promotion of the ‘Chinese-style modernization’, a term introduced by Xi Jinping to challenge the Western approach to development. With his support of this idea, he is actively trying to legitimize Xi Jinping’s questionable vision for China’s future.

It’s clear that the People’s Daily, a state-run media outlet, is using its platform to advance the political agenda of the Chinese Communist Party and its leader, Xi Jinping. Through a series of

strategically timed interviews with high-ranking officials from various provinces, the publication aims to both bolster Xi’s authority and present his rule as legitimate and unquestioned. The Daily went on to publish eights authoritative interviews in January including those of Xin Changxing, the Jiangsu Party Secretary; Yin Hong, the Jiangxi Party Secretary; Lin Wu, the Shandong Party Secretary; Yin Yong, the Mayor of Beijing; Gong Zheng, the Mayor of Shanghai; Hu Henghua, the Mayor of Chongqing; Wang Weizhong, the Governor of Guangdong; and Wang Xiaoping, the Minister of Human Resources and Social Security. All the interviewees unanimously underscored the importance of guidance of Xi Jinping thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era for high-quality economic development of their respective provinces.

By showcasing the supposed unanimity of these officials in their endorsement of Xi’s ideology, the People’s Daily seeks to paint a picture of widespread support for the CCP and its leader. However, it’s important to recognize that these interviews are carefully crafted propaganda, meant to manipulate public opinion and obscure any dissent or opposition to Xi’s rule. Such publications and interviews are not only a means of trying to gain the confidence and support of Xi Jinping, but also a calculated effort to manipulate public opinion and present him as a legitimate ruler, both domestically and internationally. This is a blatant attempt to hide the true nature of his rule, which is characterized by authoritarianism and a disregard for human rights. By presenting a positive image of the leader, these publications and interviews aim to deceive the public into believing that the current state of affairs is acceptable and desirable. This is a dangerous ploy that undermines the credibility of media outlets and raises serious concerns about the state of democracy and freedom of speech in China.