Xi Jinping's New Era of Morality Politics
Unlike any of his predecessors, including Mao himself, Xi Jinping has a political theory with his name etched in it. Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, simply known as Xiism, is enshrined in both the Party Constitution and the State Constitution while he is in power. This may be seen as the return of Mao-style personalised politics. But more importantly, it characterises an ideology capable of justifying absolute rule of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), laying the theoretical groundwork for an authoritarian single-party regime. An important part of Xiism is to uphold the socialist core value system. Today, posters and billboards featuring the socialist core values have become ubiquitous throughout China.
Moral transformation of individuals has always remained high on the political agenda, from ancient to the current times, creating a deeply entrenched Confucian-communist way of framing various social issues and political aspirations.
How does Xi Jinping’s morality politics reflect both Confucian-Legalist and Chinese communist traditions and yet differs from these traditions? What does it tell us about China and Chinese governance, and what challenges does it pose to engagement with China?