China’s Communist government has elevated current Chinese President President Xi Jinping to near the status of Mao Zedong. “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” will be given the rare honor of appearing in the Communist Party’s Constitution. After five years of leadership, a near total collapse of China’s financial system, conflict in the South China Sea as well as the East China Sea due to the aggression of Jinping’s government, and a number of other issues, Jinping’s leadership does not appear worthy of the distinction bestowed upon it. Xi is seen as a man of the People, yet his accomplishments are far from revolutionary. If one believes China needs a strong and revolutionary figure, however, the decision to mold Xi Jinping into that of a Mao Zedong-like figure makes sense.
Even though China’s rise as a global economic and geopolitical power continues, Beijing faces serious issues. China’s economy, which empowered China on the global stage, may not be able to sustain the massive growth it needs to solidify China’s global power. It may also lack the durability of its less-export dependent competitors. To boot, China’s rise has meant increased responsibly on the global stage, yet Beijing has chosen to act increasingly aggressively toward its neighbors and increasingly oppressive toward its people, thus cultivating political instability and security threats. China’s military buildup in the South China Sea and Great Purge under Xi Jinping serves as evidence of Beijing’s insecurity. In response, Beijing has sought to create a leader capable of securing the Party’s power.
President Xi Jinping is a man who was born into affluence due to his father’s connection to the Communist Party. He then experienced great hardship when his father fell out of favor with the Party. By submitting to the abusive demands of a power elite, which expects unquestioned loyalty proven through willing sacrifice and hardship, Jinping was eventually able to ascend the ranks of the Communist Party and secure his position at the top of China’s political class. Like an abused child, Jinping rules the way his fore bearers trained him. Jinping has also been empowered to purge what and who he resents from the old Communist guard, but he has embraced many of their practices. As someone who thrived under the rule of oppression, Jinping does not seem to recognize the costs of oppression. He, therefore, embraces what he feels is effective rule, even if it is abusive and the democratizing of the world’s Peoples demands change.
With that in mind, North Korea offers the world a glimpse into a dsytopian society where the dream of concentrating power and wealth into the hands of a power elite has been fully realized. A nightmare scenario for Americanized Peoples, who prefer opportunity over total socioeconomic security, North Korea is a place where the affluent control all aspects of life and government officials are worshiped as gods. Like the perpetual threat of globalized terrorism, and previously Communism, Pyongyang has been forced by the threat of war to dominant its territory. Wealth has been concentrated into the hands of the power elite who enjoy the privilege of that wealth. These wealthy elites have every intention of allowing just enough wealth to trickle down to sustain the hungry masses, but hard and scary times demand sacrifice by the majority.
North Korea has lived under a “war mentality” for nearly 70 years. Facing the threat of a US invasion since 1950 and lacking the ability to combat external threats, the Kim regime turned inward. Forever preparing its People for war, Pyongyang, like most war governments, feels compelled to stifle those who fail to adequately support the cause of the Korean People. The North Korean People have lived generations with government enforced sacrifice supporting the war effort, which has imbued them with a more potent version of the “scarcity mentality” and “submission mentality” shared by the pacified impoverished of the US. Because faith in the Kim regime’s ability to eventually deliver the nation from the threat of perceptual war and foster prosperity has been expected by the government to weaken with time, Pyongyang has increasingly acted as an insecure power seeking ever elusive security.
During the Cold War, a similar pattern was seen in Russia and China, as well as to a lesser extent in the United States, which is best exemplified by McCarthyism. Fear of weakness and the loss of security, e.g. control, pushes the powerful to seize power in all its forms and make themselves a threat to all others. In many respects, North Korea is the future of China, if Beijing continues to concentrate power at the expense of individual freedom and opportunity. China’s government is more like a corporate board of calculating capitalists who happen to preside over a Communist nation with a massive labor force. Their greatest resource is that cheap workforce, which has few, if any, real labor rights and freedom. The Chinese have the freedom to earn money instead of the guarantee of state support, but they lack the freedom to pursue opportunity, which is becoming more of a reality in the US as well.
Where government should bolster the power of its citizens, Beijing undermines the interests of the workers to pursue the interests of the political class. If not for the tendency of socialist-based governments to justify the periodic nationalization of the private sector in the face of threats, which was observed in Venezuela with the nationalization of its General Motors plant, China would be a paradise for corporate executives. In the US, Washington also has a tendency to cater to wealthy and corporate special interests at the expense of less affluent individuals, small business, and national interests. Where the known beneficiaries of special interests driven policies in China happen to be the ruling class, things are a lot more murky in the United States. Due to some accountability, the most widespread misuse of government power is the failure to use government to protect the collective interests of the People.
The second is the redistribution of national wealth through military and other government spending, which primarily benefits the wealthy, as well as the under and regressive taxation of the US economy, which burdens those who cannot afford it and future generations with debt. Corporate welfare must, of course, be justified by calling it economic development and stimulus, but it is still the redistribution of wealth away from the majority. Like Russia’s Vladimir Putin or North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, China’s Xi Jinping is concentrating the power of politics, as well as wealth and ideology, into the hands of a self-serving, abusive power elite. As a rising global power, this pursuit of absolute power by the Jinping government is a threat to the security and rights of all the world’s Peoples.
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