BEIJING (Reuters) - The political “thought” of President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader in decades, is encapsulated in two weighty tomes and dozens of published “important speeches”.
“Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,” as it is officially known, is an all encompassing theory guiding China to become a global military and economic power under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.
The end goal is the “Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”, set for 2050, when Xi expects China will return to its rightful status after over a century of bowing to the demands of Western powers.
All former top leaders of the party have had guiding theories. Before Xi, Hu Jintao put foward a “scientific outlook on development”, and Jiang Zemin, before him, had the “three represents”.
But Xi Thought differs from previous ideologies in that it carries his name and was written into the party charter while he was still in office - honours only given to Mao previously.
Xi Thought is a smorgasbord of sayings, slogans, historic allusions and literary references, all of which are the subject of numerous dedicated social media accounts and spin-off books explaining exactly what Xi means.
Below is a selection of some key tenets.
A set of 12 values to guide individuals, society and the nation: patriotism, democracy, civility, harmony, power through wealth, justice, freedom, equality, rule of law, industriousness, sincerity and friendliness.
This slogan guides Xi’s twin drives to clean out the rot of corruption in the Chinese Communist Party and set up an even-firmer system of party rule. Four aspects of political rule must be followed: strict governance by the party, rule of law, pushing forward reform, and building a moderately prosperous society, an ancient Confucian term for everyone being basically well-off.
This is arguably the core of Xi’s thinking.
It says that all people should strive to make China “prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious and beautiful” by 2050. Similar in aspects to the American dream, China’s version is about achieving prosperity for the Chinese people, but rather than the freedom to pursue individual wealth and happiness, being well-off is inextricably tied to the “great rejuvenation” of the nation.
Xi’s theoretical underpinning for the practical questions about how China’s economy should develop - in a green, innovative, coordinated, shared and open manner. These ideas are meant to guide China to avoid a hard landing for a slowing economy, boost consumption, improve innovation and services-based growth, and tackle hazardous pollution.
This is the lofty concept that is meant to guide China’s relations with the rest of the world. A “new style” of international relations is proposed that is “win-win” and of “mutual benefit” for all, but many Western nations remain critical of China’s regional behaviour over issues such as the contested waters of the South China Sea. Some academics say the concept is an attempt to counter fears of China’s rise and to avoid conflict with existing powers.
Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Philip McClellan