Stalin and Mao the key as Xi engineers China’s soul

Stalin and Mao the key as Xi engineers China’s soul, by Paul Kelly.

In June 2017 former China correspondent, former Turnbull staffer and then principal international adviser in Prime Minister and Cabinet, John Garnaut, delivered within the department the analysis he had long contemplated — Engineers of the Soul: Ideology in Xi Jinping’s China. …

Now he wanted to describe that ideology. It begins with the recognition communism was grafted on to the classical Chinese dynastic system, and the leaders of the People’s Republic “never really changed the mental wallpaper”.

“Xi Jinping has exercised an unwritten aristocratic claim to power which derives from his father’s proximity to the founder of the red dynasty: Chairman Mao,” Garnaut says. “He is the compromise representative of all the great founding families. This is the starting point for understanding the world view of Xi Jinping and his princeling cohort.

“In the view of China’s princelings, or ‘revolutionary successors’ as they prefer to be known, China is still trapped in the cycle which created and destroyed every dynasty that had gone before. In this tradition, when you lose political power you don’t just lose your job. You lose your wealth, your freedom, probably your life and possibly your entire extended family. You are literally erased from history. Winners take all and losers lose everything.

In the Chinese formulation it is ‘you die, I live’. I must kill pre-emptively in order to live. Xi and his comrades in the red dynasty believe they will go the same way as the Manchus and the Mings the moment they forget.” …

The Chinese communists love Stalin:

“Crucially, Mao split with Khrushchev because Khrushchev split with Stalin and everything he stood for.” …

Garnaut says: “The essence of Maoism and Stalinism is perpetual struggle. This is the antidote to the calcification and putrefaction that has destroyed every dynasty, dictatorship and empire. This is why Xi and his peers believe Maoism and Stalinism is still highly relevant. Not just relevant, but existential. ” …

Garnaut calls his address “the bit we forgot to study”. It was ­designed to bust the notion of China as a normal country. This is how the Western educated mind is trained to think, and it is false. He says if you’re in the business of dealing with China in intelligence, defence, higher education, trade, economics or whatever, then you need to understand the ideology of Lenin-Stalin-Mao and Xi.

hat-tip Stephen Neil