Within the 1985 blockbuster Back to the Future, California teen Marty McFly journeyed again in time to avoid wasting his current. The movie’s common themes are recognized around the globe, and Chinese language chief Xi Jinping seems to have internalized them as he approaches essentially the most fraught second of his political profession. What Xi lacks in a time-traveling DeLorean, nonetheless, he greater than makes up for with the theory of “steady revolution,” as first championed by Mao Zedong.
Xi’s re-election marketing campaign, which may see him anointed chief for all times, unofficially started greater than two years in the past when he eradicated term-limits from China’s structure. However it was not till this July’s Chinese language Communist Celebration centennial celebration, and a fiery speech mere steps from Mao’s tomb in Tiananmen Sq., that Xi actually kicked his marketing campaign into excessive gear.
China watchers have lengthy mused concerning the many similarities between Mao and Xi. Each got here of age throughout a time of nice socio-economic upheaval, and each led China by way of durations of intense worldwide stress. The distinction, although, between Mao’s previous and Xi’s current is that China itself has modified. The nation and its persons are extra linked to the surface world than at any level in Mao’s period, and the social gathering itself is extra accountable to Chinese language public opinion. Which raises the query: If the geopolitical sport has modified, does Mao’s playbook nonetheless apply?