“人民领袖” -- The People's "Leader" Xi Jinping Gets A New Propaganda Title

Hi everyone, as I mentioned Thursday the movers are coming Monday and so I will not publish a normal issue. But I wanted to flag an important upgrading of the adulatory propaganda for Xi.

He looks to be now officially known as “领袖 lingxiu”. Mao Zedong was titled “伟大领袖 Great Leader” and Hua Guofeng was called “英明领袖 Wise Leader”, but I do not believe any leader since Hua has gotten the “lingxiu” title. Until Xi.

Friday was our first chance to see a People’s Daily and CCTV co-produced 5-minute video “人民领袖 renmin lingxiu” about Xi Jinping as the People’s “leader”. As Chongqing Party School Professor Su Wei told the Global Times in January:

"The word lingxiu means more than just a leader. It is often bestowed to a leader who enjoys the highest prestige, who is the most capable and who is widely recognized by the entire Party”

The January 14 People’s Daily page 1 article 紧紧抓住大有可为的历史机遇期 or "Tightly grasping the very promising period of historical opportunity", signed by the pseudonym “Xuanyan 宣言," or “manifesto”, referred to Xi Jinping as “lingxiu”, which, according to the same Global Times article cited above, was the “first time for People's Daily to refer to Xi as lingxiu.”

A Guizhou newspaper, the Qianxi Nan Daily, briefly went with "Great Leader" Xi in November. The newspaper called him 伟大领袖 in the November 10 issue, and this article on local masses and cadres seeing him as "Great Leader" is in the November 14 issue-“伟大领袖习近平总书记” —— 黔西南各族干部群众的共同心声-黔西南日报, as Sinocism noted as the number one item in the essential eight of the November 14, 2017 newsletter.

Those were quickly deleted, but you can see the screenshots of the newspaper pages and get some more background at the China Media Project:

Qianxinan Daily (黔西南日报), the official Party newspaper of a small prefecture in Guizhou province, even took the extraordinary step last November of running Xi Jinping’s airbrushed official portrait — which played on front pages across the country — with a red caption that identified him as, “Great Leader Xi Jinping, General Secretary” (伟大领袖习近平总书记).

“Great leader” is just about the roundest praise possible for a Communist Party official in China, the only precedent being Chairman Mao himself. But the praise was also, it seems, too excessive. Some time afterward, the Qianxinan Daily front page was removed from digital archives, replaced instead with not just fake news but a fake newspaper.

As I wrote in the November 14 newsletter:

Remember, the "core" appellation for Xi started in the provinces. Xi was a Guizhou delegate to the 19th Party Congress and Li Zhanshu and Chen Min'er both have deep ties there. I hope this is local officials overstepping, but it is worrisome. 

So it looks like there may have been some kind of testing of the waters, and I can not imagine it is a coincidence that it happened in Guizhou. And now we have People’s Daily and CCTV jointly producing a video calling him lingxiu. Welcome to the New Era indeed.

You can watch the video on the People’s Daily site or on Youtube.

Here are some screen shots:

And of course inspecting a rural toilet.

Thanks for reading.