Xi Jinping

China’s military and big cities board the ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ centre bandwagon

China’s governing Central Committee has approved the founding of 10 research institutes after Xi’s dogma was enshrined in party’s constitution

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 December, 2017, 11:35am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 December, 2017, 11:27pm

At first it was universities across China. Now the top training schools of China’s Communist Party, military, education ministry and major cities have joined the nationwide obsession with setting up research centres devoted to “Xi Jinping Thought”.

The Central Committee, the party’s governing body, has approved the founding of 10 research institutes on “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday.

The approval comes less than two months after the president’s crowning political theory was enshrined in the party’s constitution during its national congress.

“These 10 research centres all have solid research capability and strong research teams, and will surely play an important role in the study, promotion and elucidation of Xi’s thought,” the report said.

As the drive for “Xi Jinping Thought” reaches a pitch unseen in decades for a Chinese political leader, new research institutes have been set up in: the Central Party School, the party’s top training ground for up-and-coming cadres; the Ministry of Education; the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the country’s top think tank; the National Defence University, the People’s Liberation Army training school for senior officers; the cities of Beijing and Shanghai; the province of Guangdong; and the prestigious Peking, Tsinghua and Renmin universities.

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These centres have popped up after at least 20 universities across China raced to set up research facilities on Xi’s thought after the congress closed in late October.

Renmin University was first among Chinese universities to set up a research hub on Xi’s eponymous philosophy. That occurred on October 25 – a day after the congress ended.

Centre executive director Liu Wei told party-run Guangming Daily at the time that the facility’s “unique duty” was to “push forward Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era into the textbooks, the classrooms and the brains [of pupils]”.

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But the list of 10 suggests a higher prominence: these institutes all have the party central leadership’s blessing, having received the thumbs-up from the Central Committee.

In the party’s system, treating a top leader’s political theory as a guiding ideology symbolically recognises both his philosophical stature and his political standing within the party.

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Xi is the first leader since late chairman Mao Zedong to see his name and dogma enshrined in the party’s charter while still in power.

But the move transcends even that symbolic significance. With Xi’s name now preserved in the party’s charter, a challenge against the president would be seen not just as a challenge to his leadership but to the whole party, analysts said.

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While some universities and colleges in China have operated research centres specialising in the political theories of Xi’s predecessors, usually under the discipline of Marxism studies, none was founded with the speed and scale of the centres devoted to Xi’s theory.