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At 100, China's Communist Party looks to cement its future

Marking its centenary, the Communist Party is using this past — selectively — to try to ensure its future and that of Xi Jinping, who may be eyeing, as Mao Zedong did, ruling for life.

July 01, 2021 / 09:32 AM IST
For China’s Communist Party, celebrating its 100th anniversary on July 1 is not just about glorifying its past. It’s also about cementing its future and that of its leader, Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Image: AP)
For China’s Communist Party, celebrating its 100th anniversary on July 1 is not just about glorifying its past. It’s also about cementing its future and that of its leader, Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Image: AP)
In the build-up to the July 1 anniversary, Xi and the CCP exhorted its members and the nation to remember the early days of struggle in the hills of the inland city of Yan’an, where Mao Zedong established himself as party leader in the 1930s. (Image: AP)
In the build-up to the July 1 anniversary, Xi and the CCP exhorted its members and the nation to remember the early days of struggle in the hills of the inland city of Yan’an, where Mao Zedong established himself as party leader in the 1930s. (Image: AP)
Dug into earthen cliffs, the primitive homes where Mao and his followers lived are now tourist sites for the party faithful and schoolteachers encouraged to spread the word. (Image: AP)
Dug into earthen cliffs, the primitive homes where Mao and his followers lived are now tourist sites for the party faithful and schoolteachers encouraged to spread the word. (Image: AP)
The cave-like rooms feel far removed from Beijing, the modern capital where national festivities are being held, and the skyscrapers of Shenzhen and other high-tech centers on the coast that are more readily associated with today’s China. (Image: AP)
The cave-like rooms feel far removed from Beijing, the modern capital where national festivities are being held, and the skyscrapers of Shenzhen and other high-tech centers on the coast that are more readily associated with today’s China. (Image: AP)
Yet in marking its centenary, the Communist Party is using this past — selectively — to try to ensure its future and that of Xi, who may be eyeing, as Mao did, ruling for life. (Image: AP)
Yet in marking its centenary, the Communist Party is using this past — selectively — to try to ensure its future and that of Xi, who may be eyeing, as Mao did, ruling for life. (Image: AP)
“By linking the party to all of China’s accomplishments of the past century, and none of its failures, Xi is trying to bolster support for his vision, his right to lead the party and the party’s right to govern the country,” said Elizabeth Economy, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. (Image: AP)
“By linking the party to all of China’s accomplishments of the past century, and none of its failures, Xi is trying to bolster support for his vision, his right to lead the party and the party’s right to govern the country,” said Elizabeth Economy, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. (Image: AP)
This week’s celebrations focus on two distinct eras — the early struggles and recent achievements — glossing over the nearly three decades under Mao from the 1950s to 1970s, when mostly disastrous social and economic policies left millions dead and the country impoverished. (Image: AP)
This week’s celebrations focus on two distinct eras — the early struggles and recent achievements — glossing over the nearly three decades under Mao from the 1950s to 1970s, when mostly disastrous social and economic policies left millions dead and the country impoverished. (Image: AP)
Many Western policymakers and analysts believed that capitalism would transform China into a democracy as its people prospered, following the pattern of former dictatorships such as South Korea and Taiwan. (Image: AP) | Read: Opinion | Is today the hundredth anniversary of the Communist Party of China or the Capitalist Party of China?
Many Western policymakers and analysts believed that capitalism would transform China into a democracy as its people prospered, following the pattern of former dictatorships such as South Korea and Taiwan. (Image: AP) | Read: Opinion | Is today the hundredth anniversary of the Communist Party of China or the Capitalist Party of China?
The Communist Party has confounded that thinking, taking a decisive turn against democracy when it cracked down on large-scale protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 and quashing any challenges to single-party rule in the ensuing decades — most recently all but extinguishing dissent in Hong Kong after anti-government protests shook the city in 2019. (Image: AP)
The Communist Party has confounded that thinking, taking a decisive turn against democracy when it cracked down on large-scale protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 and quashing any challenges to single-party rule in the ensuing decades — most recently all but extinguishing dissent in Hong Kong after anti-government protests shook the city in 2019. (Image: AP)
The anniversary marks a meeting of about a dozen people in Shanghai in 1921 that is considered the first congress of the Chinese Communist Party — though it actually started in late July. The festivities will likely convey the message that the party has brought China this far, and that it alone can lift the nation to greatness — arguing in essence that it must remain in power. (Image: AP)
The anniversary marks a meeting of about a dozen people in Shanghai in 1921 that is considered the first congress of the Chinese Communist Party — though it actually started in late July. The festivities will likely convey the message that the party has brought China this far, and that it alone can lift the nation to greatness — arguing in essence that it must remain in power. (Image: AP)
Associated Press
first published: Jul 1, 2021 09:31 am

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