Sat, Oct 29, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Chinese welcome ‘Mighty Uncle Xi’ as CCP’s ‘core’

Reuters, BEIJING

A worker takes a porcelain plate bearing an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping that is on display together with previous presidents Jiang Zemin, left, and Hu Jintao, second left, at a souvenir shop in Beijing on Thursday.

Photo: AP

Hailing “Mighty Uncle Xi” (習大大), Chinese have taken to social media to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) naming by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as its “core,” despite party efforts to limit a cult of personality.

Following a four-day plenum, the party late on Thursday gave Xi the title “core,” putting him on par with former Chinese presidents Mao Zedong (毛澤東) and Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平), though it also signaled his power would not be absolute by underscoring the importance of collective leadership.

While a cult of personality had begun to form around Xi, he has moved to stop practices, including adoring songs on the Internet and references to him in state media as “uncle Xi,” sources with ties to the leadership said.

Indeed, the party’s lengthy communique after the plenum said “boasting” about leaders should be banned and all publicity about them based on fact.

The message has seemingly been lost on enthusiastic users of social media services, where posts about Xi praising him as “Mighty Uncle Xi” — echoing an expression used to greet an emperor — have appeared, despite online censorship blocking searches for the expression.

“With Uncle Xi as the party’s core, our Chinese dream will definitely be realized,” wrote one user, referring to a broad, vaguely defined policy of Xi’s to build a strong and prosperous nation.

The Global Times tabloid, published by the party’s official People’s Daily, said Xi’s role as the core “in fact has long been in the minds of the Chinese people.”

“All Chinese know clearly that the Xi’s leadership has played a critical role in the changes in China in the past four years,” it said in an editorial, pointing to the success of his fight against corruption and in tackling issues like terrorism.

Dozens of senior officials have been jailed in the campaign against graft.

Xi has warned the problem is so severe it could affect the party’s grip on power.

That has made him immensely popular with ordinary Chinese, even if people who spoke in a traditional alleyway not far from the Zhongnanhai leadership compound were not entirely sure what the term “core” meant.

“He’s done things the other leaders could not do, and that’s fighting corruption,” 40-year-old deliveryman Wang Hui said, adding that he had not seen any news about the plenum the night before.

For housewife Cui Huiping, Xi is simply a charmer.

“He’s so handsome. Such manly charm. It’s very attractive,” she said.

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