It is precisely because of this absurdity that some regard this as a sign of a power struggle between senior CCP members. Regardless, we should focus on whether the constitutional dreams of the Southern Weekly and Yanhuang Chunqiu are the same as Xi’s dreams.
It is difficult to know where the truth lies. Some believe that those against the Southern Weekly are Maoist leftists and that Xi does not identify with them. Xi recently talked about “Deng Xiaoping’s (鄧小平) Theory,” the “Scientific Outlook on Development,” former Chinese president Jiang Zemin’s (江澤民) “Three Represents” and human rights, but he did not mention Maoism.
Another group believes that the Southern Weekly and Yanhuang Chunqiu both emphasize how the separation of powers is a form of liberal democracy.
However, in his speech, Xi emphasized how social democracy equals democratic centralism. These two values are diametrically opposed. Furthermore, Xi has praised Mao Zedong (毛澤東) on other occasions and also recently stated that no future reforms can be isolated from past ones.
These latest events give one hope for democracy and freedom in China. However, so many people are placing the potential success of this on Xi alone. This is not how democracy works.
Xi may come across as being warm and sincere with a strong sense of traditional Confucian thought, but it is difficult to know what he is really thinking. Apart from trying to remain optimistic about the future of democracy in China, there is really nothing we can do. The path to Chinese democracy may seem enticing, but it will not be easy.
Lin Cho-shui is a former Democratic Progressive Party legislator.
Translated by Drew Cameron