In the initial years of Xi’s tenure, the rhetoric was largely about loving the Communist Party of China. Then came 2019, the centenary year of the anti-imperialist student protests of 1919. The students of that time wanted China to embrace democracy and pluralism. But that was ignored. Instead, all leaders from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping used the anti-imperialist content to promote their brands of nationalism.
President Xi took it a step forward, using that spirit to introduce the theme of “national rejuvenation”. Practically, it means loving him and the communist party. At a Politburo meeting held to discuss the celebrations of the centenary year, the President said: “We need to clarify the relationship between the party and Chinese youth movements, strengthen political guidance for young people, guide them to voluntarily insist on the party’s leadership, to listen to the party and follow the party.”
At the same venue, he explained why his “rejuvenation” policy is imperative: “We need to answer why young people should connect their individual aspirations to national rejuvenation and socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
So began the implementation of the policy which has, taken the shape of a mass marketing strategy to promote and preserve President Xi. It started with the CCP’s publicity department introducing a new phone app called “Xuexi Qiangguo”. It is a collation of Xi’s speeches, his views on all issues, his objectives, his dreams and his political philosophy. Any party member who does not register can find himself in prison.