So it makes sense then that President Xi Jinping, as he looks to further consolidate his rule ahead of the Party’s centennial later this year, would pay special attention to the country’s top schools.
“Be firm in your beliefs, always stand with the Party and the people, and be a firm believer and faithful practitioner of socialism with Chinese characteristics,” said Xi, adding that “a splendid flower blooms in the unremitting struggle.”
Along with several other elite Beijing institutions, Tsinghua is one of China’s top universities, and graduates can be expected to take up key roles in the future in government and business. If the Party is to maintain its ideological stranglehold on the country, it will depend on this next generation of thinkers to follow the leadership of Xi’s cohort.
Only ending with Mao’s death, the Cultural Revolution broke many people’s faith in Communism, and was followed by capitalist reforms and opening up, a major proponent of which was Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun, who along with future paramount leader Deng Xiaoping was purged several times during the Mao years.
Today, however, as Xi’s government prepares for the grand centennial celebrations, the events of 1966-76 are, like any other blemishes in the Communist Party’s record, best forgotten. Under Xi, the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao himself, the Party is once again ascendant, taking an active role in all levels of society.
The campaign includes 80 new slogans, such as “Unity is strength, only with unity can we move forward” and “Closely uniting around the Central Party Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core, seizing a new victory in the comprehensive building of a modern socialist state.”
Businesses too, even those which are nominally private, have also come under intense pressure to support the government’s line on Xinjiang and other issues, or face potential boycott or punishment.
Such criticism is growing ever more rare these days, as the Party prepares to celebrate its centenary with a show of absolute strength, lest anyone doubt that it will be around for another 100 years.