Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping has brought Professor Zhang Weiwei into the Politburo, much to the dismay of many readers. And many people were really worried about this when he was asked to explain how to tell the Chinese story to the world.
Zhang Weiwei’s reputation in China is not small, but there is also a lot of criticism in the academic community, often comparing him with Jin Canrong and Hu Xilin.
According to Beijing scholar Rong Jian, there is a group of scholars within the system who are more reliable, rational and serious in studying international issues, but these scholars seem to be marginalized, or they do not want to say anything, and the right to speak is monopolized by Jin Canrong, Zhang Weiwei and Hu Xijin. As Wang Jisi says, China studies the United States far less than the United States studies China, and the gap is too great.
Xi Jinping wants his envoys abroad to enhance the “persuasive power of Chinese discourse,” and the foreign propaganda system to achieve a matching international discourse, which analysis suggests is focused on the West, but Zhang Weiwei is focused on attacking the West and the United States. In August 2020 he exclaimed that the U.S. democratic system may be dying! He also said: American leaders are uncultured and uneducated, and it’s time for us to make rules for America. Do you still need a professor from Fudan University to write a paper on these words?
Zhang Weiwei was able to gain Xi Jinping’s trust, and some people believe that Zhang Weiwei can sing praises and “has the heart of the emperor,” such as last year’s 11th National Day when Zhang Weiwei said, “We are witnessing a great turn in human history” and “My prediction is that the world will tilt toward the East, toward China, toward socialism at a faster rate, and this ‘epidemic world war’ can be said to be the catalyst for this tilt. “This string of platitudes made Xi happy.
He added that this epidemic World War I knocked the United States back into shape. We saw an America without the emperor’s new clothes, an unparalleled ‘victory of the heart’ for most of the nation.” This is exactly what Xi Jinping wanted to say, but some say his words are at best those of a propaganda cadre and too far from a scholar.
Zhang Wei for the Politburo class, especially eye-catching, netizens rehashed his early 2012 article praising the Chongqing experience, praising Bo Xilai has the courage to do great things, he said in an article entitled ‘Chongqing returned to talk about Chongqing’: “Chongqing explored something very extensive, has developed a set of practices. This is a politician doing great things, with vision, courage, a well-thought-out feasibility plan, and the ability to implement various policies, so Chongqing has become a place of miracles. I hope Chongqing will make further efforts to achieve new achievements in exploring the Chinese road, and I also hope Chongqing will further promote the innovation of discourse to tell the Chongqing story better, so that the ‘Chongqing experience’ will have greater influence in China and the world.”
At that time, it was widely rumored that Bo Xilai was fighting for the permanent seat, or at least Bo Xilai did not serve Xi as the crown prince, and Zhang Weiwei did not expect that Bo would collapse and go to jail a few months later, so he praised Bo. However, these few words of his praising Bo Xilai, slightly altered, can be directly transferred to Xi Jinping’s head: “do great things, have vision, have courage”, change the creation of Chongqing miracle to create the miracle of China, change the story of Chongqing to tell the story of China.
The war wolves have caused trouble outside, and China has a bad reputation. Xi Jinping wants the war wolves to speak with a good grasp of tone, humility and modesty. Zhang Weiwei said: “I think China has indeed come to such a time that for misreading China, especially malicious misreading, the action will be taken, the flirtation will be flirted with, and the head will be hit. The head of the stick will be the head of the stick, the wind and the rain will be the wind and the rain.”
What is the difference between this and the Foreign Ministry’s war-wolf discourse, and is this some of the original words that Zhang Weiwei gave to Xi Jinping’s Politburo senior members, or is it his own heartfelt words? The thrust of Xi Jinping’s speech that day was to tell a good Chinese story, and the official media mentioned above asked Zhang Weiwei how to construct a Chinese discourse and a Chinese narrative system.
Zhang replied: China must build a comprehensive, thorough, powerful and international discourse system. “Comprehensive” means that the Chinese discourse must be able to explain China’s achievements, problems and future; “thorough” means that it can explain Chinese affairs clearly and thoroughly; “powerful” means “international” means a Chinese discourse that foreigners can understand.
Netizens commented that this is completely empty words and nonsense, without any operability. The effect of such a big foreign propaganda will be effective? Another person pointed out that the big foreign propaganda is not effective because it is just a replica of the big internal propaganda. The internal propaganda is just to fool the Chinese people, to fool the superiors, to increase the ranking and money. The final result of the big foreign propaganda is also export to domestic sales, and the target of the fooling is also the Chinese people, and the performance of the war wolf is also for the domestic audience.
Some people questioned why Xi Jinping asked Zhang Weiwei, who is better than Hu Xijin, to give lessons to the Politburo. A commentary on the Pinnacle website argues that getting a private propaganda scholar like Zhang Weiwei to give a lecture to the Politburo is unusual in itself, and why Xi Jinping did so can only be understood as Xi’s trust in his subordinates is gradually disappearing and he feels the need to educate even such high ranking officials as Politburo members. The commentary also said that such an arrangement shows that the rule of law in the CCP has vanished, and even internal traditions are gradually giving way to personal totalitarianism, and Xi Jinping is apparently gradually gaining the prestige of Mao Zedong, and therefore has no hope for the future of China.
There are also netizens discussing: a wild state teacher with short international horizons can be in the Politburo, the next step Jin Can Rong state teacher is not going to be in the Central Military Commission to point the way? Hu Xijin is not to receive the Xinhua News Agency People’s Daily? Zhou Xiaoping is not to contract the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League?
The Internet scolded Professor Zhang too much, in the past also so? Someone forwarded a quote from Professor Zhang Ming: “Too many people scolded Zhang Guoshi, seal a martyr it, no one dares to scold.”