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(1/x) Some thoughts on why Xi Jinping's new article in the flagship CCP Party ideological journal Qiushi is a *big* deal.

h/t to @niubi, who flagged this in his Sinocism newsletter.…
(2/x) First, because Party propaganda says it is.

It’s the lead article on all China’s major state media channels right now – CCTV evening news, Xinhua, People’s Daily, etc. Everywhere.
(3/x) Second, because it’s not actually an “article” in any meaningful sense of the word.

Instead, it’s just a series of 18 extended quotes strung together from Xi Jinping’s speeches and reports over the past seven years.
(4/x) Anyone remember the layout of Mao’s little Red Book? Right – it’s like that. Compile the words uttered by the top leader and put them out there.
(5/x) Third, because it is utterly clear where this is going. Sure, the thrust of the “article” (i.e. Xi quotes) is about Party leadership.

But the REAL thrust of this is about Xi. Look at the language in the accompanying explanatory piece by the Qiushi editors.
(6/x) “两个维护”在本质上是一体的,维护习近平总书记核心地位,就是维护党中央权威和集中统一领导;维护党中央权威和集中统一领导,首先要维护习近平总书记核心地位。…
(7/x) “两个维护”有明确的内涵和要求,维护习近平总书记核心地位,对象是习近平总书记而不是其他任何人;维护党中央权威和集中统一领导,对象是党中央而不是其他任何组织。
(8/x) (rough Eng. tr.)
The “two upholds” are integrally related. Upholding Xi’s core role is to uphold Central Party authority & centralized unified leadership, and in order to uphold Central Party authority & centralized unified leadership, one first must uphold Xi’s core role.
(9/x) (rough Eng. tr.)
The content & requirements of “two upholds” are clear: upholding Xi Jinping’s core role, with the focus of that being Xi Jinping & no one else; upholding Central Party leadership, with the focus being Party Central & no other organization.
(10/x) That looks *really* clear. As Beijing moves towards the fall Party plenum – this is a call for China to swing even more clearly back towards a form of single-man rule that we had thought was dead and buried with the birth of the reform era.
(11/x) And why might that be important? My take:

"Keep an eye out for any sign that Party institutions themselves are being marginalized. Since 1978, we have become accustomed to China’s leaders exercising power through more regularized channels ...
(12/x) ...say, the national Party Congresses held every 5 years. But think back to the Maoist era. Remember those long stretches of time in which nominally authoritative Party organs simply faded into the reflected glory of Mao himself.”

(2019 epilogue)…
(13/x) And it feels to me like we might be entering into a period where the boundaries between "Xi" and "the Party" begin to get increasingly unclear.

Now think back to the kinds of issues & internal turmoil that China faced the last time this happened ...
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