ABC Radio National in Australia ran a profile on Xi Jinping on January 29, 2023 that traces his rise through the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and recounts stories from his past. “Whether we like him or not, we will have to acknowledge that he is going to have a huge impact on our life,” says Professor Steve Tsang, the director of the China Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.
Xi grew up “in immense privilege, at a time when millions of Chinese were living in abject poverty in the 1950s. He lived in a fancy compound and had nannies, housekeepers, security guards and went to the top boarding school” says Sue-Lin Wong, China correspondent at the Economist.
His father’s (Xi Zhongxun) fall from grace triggered “a very strong inferiority complex from that because he was looked down on by his peers” and that inferiority complex persists till today says Dr Chongyi Feng, an associate professor in China studies at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Xi’s ultimate loyalty is to the CCP and not to the people of China, says Sue-Lin Wong. Xi is “absolutely” a dictator, who has turned China into an “authoritarian” society. “The outside world has come to realise that this is a dictator like Stalin, like Hitler, like Chairman Mao,” says Dr Chongyi Feng.
“He’s built these incredibly powerful censorship, propaganda and surveillance machines. The country has become much more authoritarian, much more closed off, much less free than it was when he took power. And I think, unfortunately, that’s the direction that we will see China continue along” concludes Sue-Lin Wong.