Draft regulations on religion portend broader clamp-down.
(Morning Star News) – In October 2012, the South China Morning Post ran a series of articles on China’s looming leadership transition. One line might prove prophetic, although not in the way intended: “For clues about how China’s leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping might manage the world’s second-largest economy, Zhejiang Province is a good place to start looking.”
After explaining that the years Xi spent in Zhejiang (2002 to 2007) – as party secretary and as governor – “are regarded as a transformative period, during which Zhejiang expanded its private sector and moved toward cleaner, more innovative industries,” the author surmises that as president of the People’s Republic, Xi Jinping would doubtless work the same magic on a national level.
Similarly, for clues about how Xi intends to manage religion and what is possibly the world’s second-largest evangelical Christian population (after the USA), Zhejiang Province is a good place to start looking.
Since assuming office in March 2013, Xi has worked doggedly to consolidate power around himself as the “core” or hexin. To this end, Xi has been purging dissent (primarily through an “anti-corruption” campaign), escalating repression, increasing censorship and tightening the reins on civil society. Reportedly a compulsive micro-manager, Xi has moved at speed to acquire control over every aspect of government. Australian academic Geremie Barmé has labelled Xi China’s “COE” or Chairman of Everything.