July 25, 2021

In China, the challenges of a century-old communist party

Opening in the capital of a permanent museum dedicated to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on June 22, fireworks at the Beijing Olympic Stadium on the 28th, in front of 90,000 people, presentation of a medal to 29 members of the party particularly deserving Tuesday, June 29, spectacular lighting in Shanghai from the 30 … China has been living for a few days to the rhythm of the commemorations marking the 100e anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party, in July 1921. Highlight of the festivities: a ceremony chaired by CPC General Secretary Xi Jinping on 1is July, Tiananmen Square. But what ceremony? Mystery.

If tens of thousands of Chinese and hundreds of diplomats and foreign journalists have been invited to it for weeks, no official information has filtered out on its content. However, the participants must have been vaccinated, have spent the previous night in a hotel requisitioned by the party, have undergone a PCR test on Tuesday, and for the Chinese, not have left the capital for at least the fifteen previous days. So many drastic conditions that should allow them to witness – from afar – what everyone expects: a speech by Xi Jinping given in front of Tiananmen Square.

Most Western ambassadors – including almost all Europeans – will be represented by their most senior diplomat. All, however, observe in astonishment the transformation of the world which has been unfolding for several years before their eyes. They note the mobilization of a whole regime in the service of a man and his objective: to make China the first world power by 2049. A regime whose propaganda, urbi et orbi, is matched only by paranoia towards foreigners but also towards its own population.

“The party is above all”

Paradox: China is isolating itself from a world of which it aspires to become the center. Just as its leaders intend to govern the lives of their fellow citizens down to the smallest detail – “The party is above all”, according to Xi Jinping – while remaining complete strangers. Let’s bet that not one in a thousand Chinese – and probably a lot less – is able to spontaneously quote the names of the seven members of the CPC Political Bureau Standing Committee, these seven men who run the country and who, Thursday, will likely be aligned at a respectful distance from the first of them, the only one that attracts the light: Xi Jinping.

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