|Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds after voting on the draft resolution for the controversial national security law for Hong Kong during the closing ceremony of the third session of the 13th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, May 28, 2020. EPA|
By Amanda Price
Somewhere inside the corridors of Zhonghanhai, the word "transparency" lies limp and lifeless, hopelessly gasping for air.
It is a pathetic sight.
Straining to cling to any semblance of its former meaning, its injuries are overwhelming.
And then, it is too late ― "transparency" has finally succumbed, clubbed to death by the fatal rhetoric of Chairman Xi and his band of storytellers.
It is not the first word to have fallen victim to the Chinese Communist Party. Words such as "truth," "peace," "sincere," "responsible," "cooperation" and "commitment" have also been beaten senseless, or used as battering rams to break down enemy walls.
Although nothing like the authentic word, Xi Jinping has invented a new "transparency" which, reconstructed by CCP etymologists, means "We've shown you everything we want you to see." According to this revised version, Xi and the CCP are transparent to a fault.
The Webster Dictionary, it seems, is no match for the linguists in Beijing.
Their arsenal of words, turned into weapons for the ears of "foreign dogs", have become a new form of warfare ― one that needs no chemicals, but whose purpose is insidiously to silence the voices of those daring to insist that words have singular meanings.
None of us should be surprised at Chairman Xi's abuse. Reinventing words, or rather truths, has been a hallmark of the Chinese Communist regime since the Cultural Revolution. Xi did not begin the practice, he merely perfected it.
CCP narratives have long been constructed like bamboo scaffolding, as flexible as it is strong. Now that bamboo is simply stronger.
Now, under eloquent silky attacks from the "Chairman of Everything," accountability is the new scourge from the West, and avoiding it, is the CCP's renewed priority.
To be fair, Xi Jinping must be given credit for his consistency. After all, has Xi ever indicated he owes anyone an explanation for anything? Whether it is the kidnapping and torture of his own citizens and foreigners, or his "Soylent Green" approach to dealing with ethnic minorities, Xi has always set himself above and beyond the reach of what the gullible call "accountability."
Xi is responsible to himself alone, having made himself a deity lacking nothing except the divine. His ascension is masked in a cloud of ambiguity, just thick enough to hide the bloodied corpses upon which he climbed to reach the summit.
Such is the way of tyrants, you may say, but there is a uniqueness to Xi Jinping that lends him a legitimacy few other tyrants have known.
The secretive nature of the Chinese government has kept the whole truth of Xi's phenomenal rise to power protected from public scrutiny. The portrait we have of him is absurdly incomplete, leaving gaping holes now filled with cleverly constructed and almost plausible propaganda.
Although we do not know how the once unknown Xi rose, seemingly against rule and logic, to hold unprecedented power in the Chinese Communist Party, we do know that Xi grew up experiencing both the highs and lows of the Cultural Revolution under Mao.
At a young age his father, the Communist Revolutionary Leader, Xi Zhongxun, was arrested by Mao's police for supposedly giving support to a novel that was deemed critical of Mao. Xi was purged several times during his career. In line with the methodology that, ironically, Xi junior further advanced, the family members of the senior Xi were purged as well.
Xi Jinping was expelled from Beijing and sent to work as a farmhand in an impoverished rural village. There, while living in a cut-out in a hill, he discovered what it meant to experienced poverty, condemnation and dishonor.
One sister was unable to cope with the family's fall from grace, and hung herself to escape the shame and deprivation of all she had once known.
From the scant evidence available, which requires reading between the lines of that which Xi has revealed, it appears that Xi was spurred on rather than defeated by his circumstances.
As a young man he re-joined the ranks of the Party faithful, and took his first steps to creating an account which would later position him as a 'people's president' or "Xi Dada." Paradoxically, his suffering under a regime driven by a personality cult would provide him with both legitimacy among the new elites, and appeal to millions who had suffered themselves.
His motivation, it was claimed, was to build the "Chinese Dream" or "the great rejuvenation of the nation."
As soon as power was within his grasp, however, Xi began his own purge, one more surgical than his predecessors.
Many high-ranking officials were harshly demoted without evidence of disloyalty; some disappeared altogether. The aim was to establish a hierarchy of leaders that could be manipulated, who had no moral qualms about Xi's immoral edicts, and no conscience other than the one they were allocated.
With a following of puppet leaders, Xi could take a government claiming to represent the interests of the people, and invest himself with every title on offer, and others that previously did not exist.
With unchallenged power, Xi changed the Constitution to ensure he was head of the police, head of national security, of the judiciary, the secret services, the military and all economic and social reform.
According to Gary Locke, the former American Ambassador to Beijing, "Xi is at the centre of everything" ― and he will remain the center of China's universe indefinitely.
A Beijing editor reported, "He is not afraid of heaven or earth. And he is, as we say, round on the outside and square on the insides. He looks flexible, but inside he is very hard."
Xi believes he is untouchable within the walls of his own kingdom. And while he has demonstrated near genius in the field of strategy and regime-building, his rampant victimization of rivals, his contempt toward elder statesmen, and his attempts to paint human rights-conscious nations as vile and uncivilized, suggests motivations that are as deeply personal as they are maniacal.
Whether he is seeking to avenge his father, or seeking revenge for his past, Xi has become the world's most powerful, dynamic and highly-motivated dictator. But as the self-appointed supreme authority within the Chinese Communist Party, his motivation goes beyond power.
Far more than any other world dictator, Xi's is driven by conquest. He is not satisfied with combating democratic organizations and dismissing other nations' achievements, he seeks to own them, and too often has done just that.
According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, since Xi Jinping came to power, there have been more cases of stolen intellectual property and technology by the Chinese government than prosecutors around the world can handle.
"They're (the CCP) willing to steal their way up the economic ladder" at the expense of other nation's economies, stability, and strength. China's cyber-attacks, theft of technology and intellectual property are "well-orchestrated and well-resourced" and planned at the top level, according to the FBI Director. Intelligence agency reports say that under Xi Jinping, this form of theft has helped to make the CCP rich while robbing nations of billions upon billions of dollars.
The World Health Organization has at best a 50-50 chance of surviving this pandemic based on Xi's alarming influenc
e over the former international and independent agency of the United Nations.
Just when Xi bought executive shares in the WHO is still uncertain, but his influence over the director-general during the pandemic has made it possible for Xi to remain in his self-made Olympus, protected from the scrutiny of mere mortals.
With regard to the current global health crisis, a leading German epidemiologist wrote, "President Xi's persistent refusal to allow an independent international investigation into the origins of the virus, is more than a lack of responsibility, it is a declaration of contempt for human life. It is a crime, a crime that cost lives for a nation to say "We own the right to refuse to be investigated, to have the evidence examined. Most every other country in the world would have called for the investigation themselves."
China, under Xi, has answered calls for transparency by handing out lollipops, claiming it as benevolence to a world to which if refused to be accountable.
Refusal to act with human decency in the face of a global health crisis is alarming enough, but to this Xi has added childish retaliation toward nations that requested what other nations would offer before being asked.
Psychologist professor Jiu Xiao, wrote in a paper profiling China's President, said, "Though seemingly mild-mannered and tempered, Xi's decisions and actions are that of a petulant child who is not given what they want. Mature adults respond after considering the factors leading up to a situation, but Xi's sense of entitlement suggests that his consideration always and only focuses on how things will affect him personally."
Yet despite all that we know about Xi Jinping, many continue to force his cruelty and tyranny through a sieve of acceptance. Perhaps if he had horns rather than an Armani suit, perhaps if he had fangs rather than a Mona Lisa smile, we would be less able to pretend Xi Jinping was not the tyrant that his actions reveal him to be.
The desperate citizens of Hong Kong, fighting against a tsunami of evil, do not have the luxury of pretence. The death toll sounded as Beijing passed its National Security stranglehold law. For Xi Jinping, Hong Kong will be yet another conquest he can mark on his belt.
In passing this law, the CCP and Xi are not threatening to destroy a governmental system, but the lives and security of Hong Kong's citizens, citizens who are more skilled than Westerners at interpreting the words that drip like poison from the CCP's lips. "National security" means "the supremacy and domination of the Xi's regime." A law that will "target only certain individuals" means "a law in which everyone is a potential target and anyone can disappear."
Similarly, "foreign interference" means Hong Kong will never again be able to appeal for help from anyone, anywhere. All international NGOs in Hong Kong will work under strict CCP regulation or be expelled. Xi and the CCP will never again have to answer for anything they do to Hong Kong, nor will they have to work under the cover of night.
And if Hong Kong collapses either through the resistance of its citizens or through the terror this new law invokes, Xi will not blink an eye. The protestors will be blamed the same way an abusive partner blames their victim. "Look what you made us do" will be Beijing's response to a Hong Kong that is broken. "We knew what was best for you but you refused to listen".
We make a fatal mistake in believing that Xi will stop with his conquest of Hong Kong. Taiwan will today be considering its options, knowing that if no-one stands in the way of Xi's malevolent plans, Taiwan will be next.
We make a further mistake in believing that economic sanctions alone will curtail Xi's lust for conquest. He has proven to be a patient man. Xi will wait for an opportune time, as he did with the pandemic, and attack again not caring if Chinese citizens are among the victims.
We must, of course, never fight fire with fire. But we should remember that water, so steady and constant, will overcome the fiercest flames. Xi Jinping is not infallible, his regime is not unstoppable, and his power is ultimately based on fear, and the fabricated belief that he rules a government the world cannot do without.
As Hong Kong is robbed of its freedom, as minorities groups continue to be persecuted and exterminated, as human rights are unashamedly abused, as nations continue to be threatened and bullied, we must decide on an appropriate and definitive response to the tyranny of Xi Jinping and his regime.
We must answer the petitions of those clinging to the hope that we will respond. We must draw a line in the sand and say, "No further." We must defend those who Xi has disarmed and speak on behalf of those who have been silenced.
Xi Jinping must know that, unlike him, we mean what we say.