Understanding Xi’s China: The dangers of the “cult of personality”

RFI Executive Vice President Eric Patterson today authored a piece for WORLD magazine titled, “Understanding Xi’s China” in which he highlights the “dangers of the ‘cult of personality.’ ”

Patterson argues:

With Beijing’s aggressiveness on the rise, what are we now to make of Chinese leader Xi Jinping? Sadly, like other dangerous despots in Pyongyang and Moscow, Xi has carefully nurtured a “cult of personality” and throttled competing voices. This is a danger to the West because it is a sharp departure from the consensual governing style chosen by Chinese Communist Party elites from 1990 to 2010.

Xi has consolidated his power and in 2018 declared himself “leader for life.” “At present,” Patterson observes, “Xi guides all aspects of the direction of the Chinese Communist Party and the country.”

In principle and practice, such developments are, and will continue to be, disastrous for political and religious freedom in China. Patterson writes:

Xi is ruthless in employing fear and repression. Poorly performing bureaucrats or potential rivals are often quietly dismissed or thrown in prison. Domestic repression of minority groups, whether intensified attacks on Christians, the concentration camps for Muslim Uyghurs, or the brutal crackdowns on Hong Kong—all testify to Xi’s increasingly authoritarian actions.

While strengthening his own political position through a combination of brutality and technical precision, Xi has also “fostered a domestic cult of personality promoting his persona in every aspect of Chinese society.” “It is deeply concerning,” Patterson writes, “to see Xi is on the same path as Stalin. Chinese patriots should make every effort to counteract the increasingly unfettered cult of the strongman.”

Read the full article: Understanding Xi’s China.