To Xi Jinping’s growing list of titles as Chairman of Everything, add one more: Storyteller-in-Chief. In the five years since he became general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in November 2012, Xi has authored no less than four books, including The Governance of China (the tome on his ruling vision that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg made such a show of placing on his desk), Up and Out of Poverty (a collection of his writings through the 1990s), The Chinese Dream and the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation (which helps readers “come to understand the true nature of the Chinese Dream“), and the tenderly titled Knowing Deeply: Loving Keenly (a book of his writings from the early 1980s).
Search up Xi Jinping on Amazon and you’ll find scores of other published volumes of his “important speeches.” Perhaps the most entertaining is a volume commemorating, just in the nick of time, the 2,565th birthday of Confucius.
As China’s top leader and chief messager, Xi Jinping is the custodian of the “China story” — the authorized version of how the country and its leadership wish to be perceived by us all. At his first national meeting on propaganda and ideology in August 2013, Xi said leaders needed to find new ways to “tell China’s story well, and properly disseminate China’s voice.” More than a year later, at a foreign affairs work meeting in November 2014, he said that China “must raise our country’s soft power, telling China’s story well.”