For Xi Jinping, Being a Man of the People Means Looking the Part

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BEIJING — He held up stalks of wheat and made small speak with farmers. He stood aspect by aspect with employees at an oil plant and spoke of constructing an “invincible” China. He referred to as for China to change into extra “self-reliant” within the face of a commerce dispute with america.

President Xi Jinping of China this week visited the northeast for what the state-run media referred to as a three-day inspection tour. However the journey was far more than that. It was an opportunity for Mr. Xi to place himself on a pedestal with Mao Zedong, to rekindle a populist picture and to fireside again at President Trump and “protectionist” insurance policies.

Mao was a grasp of propaganda in rural settings, utilizing photographs and songs to spotlight his concern for the frequent employee and to domesticate a paternalistic, caring picture.

Pang Laikwan, a professor on the Chinese language College of Hong Kong, stated Mr. Xi, who grew up throughout the chaos of the Cultural Revolution, appeared to have discovered a lot from Mao’s character cult, together with his populist enchantment.

“Mao himself additionally has this real curiosity in speaking with bizarre folks, which constitutes a part of his charisma,” she stated.

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