Xi Jinping is living the patriarch’s dream. Like the men of a certain age and type on every WhatsApp family group, he has “thoughts” on morality, politics, nationalism, character, everything. The only difference is that Xi is arguably the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong and has a captive audience of a billion people. So, in schools and colleges all over China, students will now have to attend lectures on Xi’s “Fundamentals” to “Cultivate the Builders and Successors of Socialism with a Global Moral, Intellectual, Physical and Aesthetic Basis. “.
The Chinese supremo is not the only political leader who wants what he thinks is the discourse of the class and the nation. Or, have a bloated feeling of smugness. Since there is no opposition in a one-party state – when he raises his head he is instantly criminalized – perhaps the Great Leader can be forgiven for insisting that an entire generation s ‘permeates, as a dogma, his version of Marxism as well as his plans for an ancient civilization. But what the chairperson often overlooks is that these top-down conferences can be counterproductive.
As anyone who has attended an endless school assembly will attest, students are not swayed by the noble guts that emanate from old men in power. In fact, even the most well-intentioned lecture from a school or college principal is instantly satirized by the âbacksetsâ. For years educators as well as parents and grandparents have tried to instill Sanskar in their wards. They never quite succeeded. What âstrong leadersâ in China and beyond should beware of are the quiet sneers at the back of the room. And the young men and women, who might one day point out that the thin fabric they weave with their words is, in fact, transparent.
This editorial first appeared in the print edition on August 27, 2021 under the title âWhat Xi Thinks Todayâ.