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Xi has the “Mandate of Heaven” in the “Middle Kingdom”

Nihar writes, with the scrapping of two-term limit on presidency, as made public by CPC central committee on 25 Feb 2018[1], it’s quite apparent that, Xi is going to continue at the helm at least till 2027. It seems that Xi has assumed the “Mandate of Heaven (tianming)”- the responsibility to maintain order and harmony in the world.

With his often pronounced dictum that China will gain its rightful place in the centre of the world, Xi had reinforced the age-old Chinese belief that the world is square and the heaven has projected its circular shadow in the form of Chinese Empire onto the centre of earth where China is located and the outer pieces formed by the four angles of the square do not receive the celestial emanation and hence are barbarians and inferior to the Chinese Empire. With the scrapping of two-term limit on presidency, as made public by CPC central committee on 25 Feb 2018[1], it’s quite apparent that, Xi is going to continue at the helm at least till 2027. It seems that Xi has assumed the “Mandate of Heaven (tianming)”- the responsibility to maintain order and harmony in the world. As in the Chinese belief system starting from Song Dynasty, the Emperor, the Son of Heaven, was the mediator between nature and human society through the authority given to him by the mandate of heaven, so has Xi apparently annointed himself as the representative of heaven to achieve the “Chinese dream” and throw light to the corners of the Square and enlighten them since these places are bereft of celestial emanation!

All moral and philosophical concepts, like jengshui (rules of wind and water), wu lun (five relationship), zheng ming (rectification of names), Yin and Yang (everything has two opposite and complementary aspects), wu wei (minimizing of action and premature intervention on natural course), were united in the definition of imperial power[2]. Xi has apparently assumed similar power. The CPC Central Committee proposed writing Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era into the country’s fundamental law (It’s already included in the Party constitution). The proposal further reiterates that, “The leadership of the Communist Party of China is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics”. The CPC Central Committee has also proposed listing the supervisory commissions as a new type of state organs in the Constitution.[3] Following the spirit of rectification of names (zheng ming) Xi has also renamed the   Army Corps (presently there are 13 army corps after reduction of five out of existing 18). Names and choice of words have strong connotation in Chinese mind. The choice of words is considered a matter of substance and not of form and applying the appropriate term is the sign of harmony between a social element and its general context[4].

Xi has progressively consolidated his influence over the Party, Government, PLA, and the bureaucracy. Analysts have been referring to these developments as ambitions and dictatorial tendencies of Xi. Knowing his penchant for intellectual development and importance he accords to history and culture of China, Xi would definitely be aware of possible comparison of his actions with the Chinese history. In this context his recent actions need to be analysed. Are the concepts of “Middle Kingdom” and the “Mandate of Heaven” hidden somewhere in the psyche of Xi? Though he proclaims to believe in China’s peaceful development, shared responsibilities and similar altruistic concepts, he probably has a hidden agenda through which, he believes, China will regain world supremacy. And he, like the past Emperors of China, wants to steer China in his lifetime, to its goal.

 

[1] Xinhua| 2018-02-25 22:58:39|Editor: pengying accessed at http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-02/25/c_136999410.htm on 26 Feb 2018

[2] Chesneaux Jean et al, “China from the opium wars to the 1911 Revolution”, The Pantheon Asia Library,1972, reprinted and published by Khosla Publishing House,2014, pp- 6

[3] Financial Times dated 26 Feb 2018 available at https://www.ft.com/content/a99120f8-1a07-11e8-aaca-4574d7dabfb6 accessed on 26 Feb 2018

[4] Op. cit Chesneaux et al pp-5

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