N.B Chyoi / September 27, 2021
Life for Chinese citizens is hard. Not because they face a lack of resources or opportunities but because of the micro invasions of every aspect of their life. As per the recent news affairs, the Chinese President Xi Jingping seems to be on a spree to control the vein of Chinese society.
China’s authoritarian leader, President Xi Jinping is bent on putting restrictions on every facet of the life of citizens, be it top military representatives, Video game players or kindergartners. Everyone is expected to follow the rules set by the communist leader.
On September 6th, Xi Jinping in his capacity as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) presided over a ceremony in Beijing where he promoted five members of the People Liberation Army (PLA), the world’s largest military.
The five members were promoted from Lieutenant Generals to the position of General, which is the highest active-duty rank in the PLA. These promotions were done in an attempt to tighten the security of the nation, owing to China’s active sparring with India over border issues.
Ever since the Galwan valley incident, Jinping has been hastily changing the Governors of the Western Theatre Command (WTC) that was recognized in 2016 in a move to fortify the border with India. Since 2020, the Chinese government has replaced 4 governors at the border.
Wang Haijiang, the newly appointed Governor for the WTC, has previously served as the Commander of the Tibet Military District where he was considered an architect of repressive policies. He was then transferred to the troubled region of Xinjiang in 2021 as the commander of the Xinjiang Military District.
Wang is infamous for employing harsh & oppressive measures just like his boss Xi Jinping. A notable specialist in patrolling and reconnaissance missions, Wang is Jinping’s right-hand man, especially when it comes to dealing with distressed regions such as Tibet or Xinjiang over which the Communist Party wishes to exercise more control.
As Wang has been a part of all Theatre Commands encircling the border with India, China’s military considers him a right fit to deal with the Ladakh issue. Amidst the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, after the American troops pulled out from the territory, China has also tightened the border security around the Xinjiang region. The Chinese government is fearful of the infiltration of Islamic terrorism into Xinjiang from Afghanistan. The authorities are apprehensive that with the Taliban in power, China’s border will be compromised as the Taliban has ties with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
Wang’s deployment to the Western Command will feed the tyrannical surveilling and policies of hard labour & confinement practised by China in Xinjiang. In the last few years, President Jinping has been shaping the structure of the PLA to fit his ideology of the perfect China. Since he came to power in 2012 as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, his primary goal has been to take over the military forces of the country by the hem.
From 2012 until now, he has presided over 13 PLA promotion ceremonies and promoted over 66 military leaders to the position of Generals. As he has personally stationed so many Generals, this is Jinping’s way of saying, ‘I own your butter and you owe me your loyalty.’He now has several of his confidants to the highest military position in China who owe him loyalty and are ready to do his bidding, no questions asked.
Like a true tyrant, he started pushing out the military personnel who were loyal to Xi’s predecessors. In the garb of the anti-corruption campaign Xi was successful in rooting out ministers and other military officers which showed resistance to his ideology. PLA is not the target but a step in Jinping’s grand vision for China. He is also interested in bringing changes to other social sectors such as education, economy and technology.
Xi has always abhorred diversity in expression and religion. In August, Shanghai University made a list of LGBTQ students on campus. Moreover, the Education Ministry complained that the male students are becoming more & more ‘feminize’ following which there were additional bans imposed and the Radio & Television Administration directed to promote the image of ‘manhood’ on screens.
The people in China are not even free to follow their celebrity crushes. There is a strict rule that all celebrities are expected to promote the CCP agenda and nationalism on screen. Anyone who deviates from the party lines and is depicted as immoral is immediately banned.
Even teenagers are not free to follow their passions in the country. The newly imposed rule bars children below 18 from playing video games for over 3 hours a week. A kid can only indulge in video games from 8 to 9 pm on Friday to Sunday and there’s also a bonus of one extra hour on public holidays.
Forget leisure activities such as games, the government of China doesn’t even want you to take private tuition for core subjects. There is shrewd reasoning behind all these ‘reforms.’ Jinping is introducing all these measures to lower the living costs of families in the hope to increase the country’s birth rate. China leads the world population with 1.44 billion. With the earth already stressed with overpopulation, why would China want to grow in size?
Jinping is paranoid about anything that can challenge his power, be it religion, corporations or celebrities. He represents to the citizens that he is taking positive measures against increased gaming addiction & celebrity-idol worshipping but, not everyone buys his active moral policing. The leader of the country wants its people to believe that they are not equipped to make their own decisions without his guidance. Xi considers the Chinese citizens as monkeys of his grand circus.
He wants the world to believe that he and his minions are working towards a harmonious future for mankind but, his version of the future includes a rule by a draconian leader who will interfere with every aspect of your life.
N.B Chyoi is a Kachin lawyer and geopolitical analyst focusing especially on Burma, India and China.
The opinion expressed here is the author’s own, and does not represent the editorial policy of The Kachin Post.