What sort of science fiction does Xi Jinping like? How can China’s weathermen use the president’s political philosophy to improve their forecasts? In what ways can “Xi Thought” help prepare the country for the next big earthquake?
These are the sorts of questions Communist Party cadres are now pondering as they prepare for the next big milestone in the president’s effort to cement control: Elevating Xi Thought alongside Maoism. The esoteric concept is expected to be written into the five-year development blueprint that will be unveiled after party meetings later this month. Everyone from diplomats to executives to sci-fi writers are under pressure to incorporate the broad, often fuzzy tenets of Xi Thought into their policies.
The project is central to Xi’s effort to quiet opposition and to stay on past 2022, when he’s expected to seek a third five-year term as party chief. Once Xi has his own “-ism,” the theory goes, he’ll be elevated to a political standing on par with Mao Zedong, whose portrait hangs over Tiananmen Square and is printed on the currency. It will also make it all-the-more difficult to question his edicts.