China invoking 'civilisational' strength for its advancement

Xi Jinping delivers an important speech at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC in Beijing, July 1, 2021. (Xinhua/Ju Peng/IANS)

Xi Jinping delivers an important speech at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the CPC in Beijing, July 1, 2021. (Xinhua/Ju Peng/IANS)

D.C. Pathak
IANS | December 10

Strategic analysts have noted that President Xi Jinping has in his quest for making China the other superpower rivalling the USA, embarked on a three-fold strategy - he has initiated the process of 'Sinicization' of Marxism, ensured the reassertion of the supremacy of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in every sphere and given a conscious call for recognising the 'civilisational strength of the Chinese nation'

China under Xi is pursuing the economic route to becoming a superpower and wants time to achieve the mission - without running into any distraction of a military confrontation.

This came out clearly in his long bilateral meeting with US President Joe Biden during the recent APEC conference in San Francisco - at the end of which Xi would have reasons to feel satisfied with the emphasis Biden had laid on the US not seeking any 'conflict' with China.

The two leaders had largely focused on their commitment to economic growth and global advancement and expressed their agreement on cooperation in such diverse areas as Artificial Intelligence, Environment and Counter-narcotic work.

Marking the rapid rise of Xi since 2012 when he first became the General Secretary of the CPC, the 19th National Congress of the party held in 2017 incorporated Xi Jinping Thought on 'Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era' in the Party Constitution.

The People's Congress in March 2018 went on to amend the Constitution of the People's Republic of China to mention Xi's Thought in it. This had happened only twice in the past with the leadership of Mao Dezong and Deng Xiaoping.

Xi's Thought is said to combine Chinese Marxism with National Rejuvenation. It was hailed by the 19th Central Committee of CPC in 2021 in a unanimous resolution as a 'new breakthrough in the Sinicization of Marxism'.

Significantly, Xi's analysis of why the USSR disintegrated was that the party organs of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) had at all levels lost their functions and in particular, the military was no longer under CPSU leadership because of which 'a great party was scattered' and the Soviet Union, 'a great Socialist country', was dismembered.

The 14-point Xi Jinping Thought stipulated among other things, ensuring CPC leadership over all forms of work in China including absolute leadership on PLA, the continuation of comprehensive deepening of reforms, governing China with the Rule of Law, improving people's livelihood and well-being as the primary goal of development and practising Socialist core values including Marxism-Leninism and ‘Socialism with Chinese characteristics’.

A cult of personality has been developing around Xi since he became the General Secretary of the CPC and the country’s paramount leader.

The party has been projecting him as representing the best of both Mao Dezong and Deng Xiaoping. In 2019, the Politburo of the CPC named Xi as the People's Leader - a title only Mao had held previously.

The Central Party School of the CPC in 2020 labelled Xi Jinping Thought as '21st century Marxism', claimed that it was the only scientific method to explain the 'Chinese Miracle of the 21st century' and contended that it was the only 'solution for the modern problems of humankind'. It maintained that socialism is better than capitalism.

At China's National People's Congress in March 2023 in Beijing, Xi was awarded a third 5-year term as President putting him on track to stay in power for life.

In what seems to be a definite element in Xi's strategy, the Chinese President highlights China's 5000-year-old civilisation and places a profound emphasis on the preservation and development of its 'fine cultural traditions'

Xi Jinping Thought seeks to build the party's confidence in history and culture to a new high and believes that Chinese civilisation should be known for its 'continuity, innovativeness, unity, inclusiveness and peaceful nature'.

Clearly, Xi wants to use China's civilisational strength to advance 'national rejuvenation', promote unity at home and give an impression to the world outside that China stands for peace.

There is an underlying message in Xi Jinping Thought that opposes the 'cultural hegemony of the West' and possibly also counters any attempt of India to use the soft power of an ancient civilisation to deal with a hostile Marxist state next door.

Xi intends to integrate the basic tenets of Marxism with China's traditional culture as a strategy for dealing with the complex international landscape.

It is appropriate and timely for the Narendra Modi regime to strengthen the sense of nationalism amongst Indians and make them aware of the glorious civilisational past of India that had been, in a substantial measure, shut off by the colonial masters and later kept in oblivion for reasons of politics.

In a multi-religious setting like India, the traditions of ancient culture that promoted the quest for knowledge, upheld an assimilative approach by shunning any claims of supremacism for a particular faith and attached importance to humanism, should be appreciated by all communities and sections of society. All this will automatically generate feelings of national unity and lead to a realistic appraisal of who the nation's friends and enemies are.

It is said that in the court of Lord Ram respect was given to even Sage Charwak who was an advocate of agnosticism. In today’s world that faces unanticipated geopolitical shifts, it is vital that a world power like India should try to be self-dependent in handling security, economic growth and international relations. Prime Minister Modi has rightly taken this strategic approach which is already yielding rich dividends.

The Sino-Pak axis operating against India remains this country's major security concern - in part because of its covert hand behind the propping up of anti-India lobbies on issues like alleged lack of protection for minorities, the 'rise of authoritarianism' and 'promotion of majoritarianism'.

The two hostile neighbours of India are joining hands in conducting 'covert' operations here - the use of Chinese drones by Pakistan for dropping arms and narcotics in Punjab illustrates this.

While India has successfully countered the threat of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan in Kashmir and elsewhere, the challenge from a hostile China spreads from our borders to the Indian Ocean and the entire range of international relations.

Xi is pursuing the ambition of making China the second superpower after the US through economic, military and technological means and having emerged as the supreme leader of China in the mould of Mao Zedong, is driving the strategy of establishing the stranglehold of the CPC on the civil and military affairs on one hand and practising an extremely 'nationalistic' version of Marxism on the other, to achieve total unity internally and speed up the economic and political expansion of Chinese influence outside.

The adversarial profile of China is likely to become harder from India's point of view, in the days ahead.

India has no alternative to building its own strength and firming up its bilateral and multilateral relationships in the democratic world to counter the growing alliance between the Marxist dictatorship of China and a fundamentalist Pakistan that was conniving with the anti-US Islamic radical forces out to increase their foothold in the Muslim world.