Military personnel stand in formation next to a portrait of China’s President Xi Jinping (back) outside the Forbidden City in Beijing (AFP file photo)
NEW DELHI: The ideological driving force behind China’s quest for global dominance flows from an authoritarian, “overarching sensibility” based on its take on Marxist-Leninist tenets and is central to understanding the communist giant’s actions, a recent US state department report says.
The state department report, which attracted attention here for its references to China’s efforts to contain India, has dwelt at length on President Xi Jinping’s commitment to spreading the influence of Chinese socialism around the globe, arguing that despite seeming contradictions, there is no conflict in the promotion of Chinese hyper-nationalism and communist thought.
“That (Chinese) sensibility is authoritarian, collectivist and imperial. Two streams of ideas nourish it. Seminal CCP writings and speeches proclaim cardinal tenets of Marxism-Leninism as interpreted by successive Chinese communist leaders beginning with Mao Zedong… CCP writings and speeches also espouse an extreme interpretation of Chinese nationalism,” the report states.
The hybrid result is an ideological stance that is neither strictly communist nor purely nationalist, but which seeks dominance of a single party and thought.
“The CCP reconciles the conflicting imperatives of Marxism-Leninism and its extreme interpretation of Chinese nationalism by assigning to China the dominant role in interpreting the ultimate configuration of, achieving, and administering international socialism,” the report states.
The report notes, as have several commentaries, that Xi, just like China’s founding leader Mao Zedong, is completely dedicated to the goal of ensuring the supremacy of the communist party in the affairs of China. The model seeks to remodel the world order that the Chinese leadership tells its citizens is unjust and western-oriented, while side-stepping issues of human rights.
Commentators have noted that in the view of the Chinese communists, party rule is fully “democratic” as it reflects the will of the people even in the absence of a democratic exercise. Though controls have become more subtle and discreet, they remain essentially modelled after 20th century Leninist methods where the party is in charge of all elements of national life.
“Neither the communist authoritarianism the CCP has imposed on the people in China nor its hyper-nationalism are inevitable. Indeed, prominent alternatives have prospered in the region. No less steeped in Confucian traditions… the people of Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea embraced freedom and democracy,” the US report says.
The report notes that ideological indoctrination is among the party’s paramount concerns and Xi is determined to put the power of the state to back a single point understanding of economics, politics and international relations. “We will work harder to study and develop Marxist theory,” he vowed in 2017. “We will foster a Marxist-style of learning, and make it regular practice and an institutionalised requirement for all party members.”