The Meaning of Xi Jinping Thought

National Revival and Military Power

Chinese President Xi Jinping reading in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 2013. Kim Kyung-Hoon / REUTERS

At the end of October, the Chinese Communist Party held its 19th National Congress. The CCP has held these gatherings every five years since 1977, when Deng Xiaoping, the father of reform-era China, took power at the 11th party congress. Mao Zedong had died the year before, leaving the party in turmoil and the country in shambles in the wake of his Cultural Revolution. Deng set out to establish order, institutionalize the relationship between the party and the state, and set China on the path toward opening and reform.

It took 20 years for “Deng Xiaoping Theory,” which laid out “the basic issues concerning building, consolidating, and developing socialism in China,” to be enshrined in the CCP constitution at the 15th National Congress, held in September 1997. Deng, who had passed away February of that year, didn’t live to see the day.

Having effectively ruled China for two decades, Deng must have

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