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History Being Repeated in China
Early in the 20th century , as China wrestled with revolution and people’s governance, a mercurial Qing General tried to restore the monarchy. ‘Yuan Shikai’ emerged as the consensus candidate of the conservatives and the revolutionaries to lead the nation to peace and unity at that crucial crisis. Thus Yuan Shikai become the first President of the ‘ Republic of China’. He made himself ‘ Preside for life’ through ruthless actions and announced a new imperial dynasty with himself as Emperor in 1915-16. This move triggered a massive people’s revolution which was supported by Japan. Juan was forced to abandon his ambition since his European friends were busy with World War-1. Within hours of the Chinese Communist Party announcement, clearing the decks for Xi Jinping to stay in Presidency for life, Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, was flooded with remarks comparing Xi with Juan, the autocratic ruler from a century ago. Immediately the Chinese government reacted sharply. The key word ‘ Yuan Shikai’ was censored from Internet. Implications of this major shift in state policy
Implications of this major shift in state policy
This amendment will ensure that Xi Jinping stays in power beyond 2023. Comparisons have been made globally with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This move topples the trend in China over the last four decades. The all- powerful Chairman Mao Zedong, whose cultural revolution brought death and sufferings to tens of thousands of Chinese and pushed the country to civil-war, is now widely acknowledged to have committed atrocities in governing China. After the death of Chairman Mao in 1976, the Communist Party took a preventive step and made a transition to ‘collective leadership’ Till date, the transition of Power from Presidents Jiang Zemin to Hu Jinto to Xi Jinping we’re smooth, both the predecessors having served two five-year terms in office. In the last few years few symptoms were evident. Xi was declared the party’s core leader and Chinese state media was extensively used to beef up his image to an extent that China- watchers say, had not been seen since the Mao era. The “Xi Jinping Thought” was added to the CPC’s Constitution at Party Congress of 2017. Few critics feel that – “Chinese politics is in a reverse gear… going back to Mao era of strong man rule”.
Impact on Sino- India Relations
For New Delhi, a more powerful Xi is reason for greater wariness and concern. Evidences are galore. Since March 2013, after Xi took office, there have been three Major face-offs on border – Depsang in April 2013, Chumar in September 2014, and the two- and- a- half months checkmate face off at Doklam in 2017. The red dragon has been breathing fire all over the region, accompanied by more aggressive and pro- active wooing of India’s neighbours, from Maldives to Sri Lanka, Nepal to Bangladesh. The grand game plan envisages the frame work of Xi’s most ambitious project to usher China to the world Arena as the most formidable player- One Belt One Road Project. The mega Billion Dollar Project has been opposed by New Delhi, and questioned by United States, the Europeans and the Japanese. The aggression and creeping expansionism of China is a major head-ache to India and the western world. If Xi becomes a Mao style dictator, it may herald more frequent stand- offs on territorial disputes in contested domains.
Social media users popularly shared images of ‘Winnie the Pooh’ hugging a jar of honey along with the quote- “ Find the thing you love and stick with it”. Chinese Government promptly censored the Pooh images also from Chinese social media. The Chinese rubber stamp parliament the “National people’s Congress” is all but certain to pass the constitutional amendments when it meets for its annual session early next month. It’s indeed not a welcoming news for India, as an emerging powerful nation of Asia.