1. The importance of the Communist Manifesto
If you thought Communism was dead, Xi Jinping would like to remind you that it is very important to study the Communist Manifesto. Xinhua News Agency conveys Xi’s thoughts:
The purpose of reviewing the Communist Manifesto is to understand and grasp the power of the truth of Marxism and write a new chapter of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era,(!!?) Xi said Monday when presiding over a group study session of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee…
…The ability of the whole Party to solve the practical problems of contemporary China with the basic principles of Marxism should be enhanced… More efforts should be made to develop Marxism in the 21st century and in contemporary China, and write a new chapter of adapting Marxism to the Chinese context, Xi said.
Versions of the same piece were lead items on all central state media. Xinhua’s Chinese website headlined the piece “Xi Jinping: Deeply understand and master the power of Marxist truth (习近平：深刻感悟和把握马克思主义真理力量 xí jìnpíng: shēnkè gǎnwù hé bǎwò mǎkèsī zhǔyì zhēnlǐ lìliàng).
One comment from New York Times reporter Chris Buckley, via tweet:
Xi convenes Politburo to celebrate the “Communist Manifesto,” 170 years after its first publication. But what is Xi’s communism? One clue is that his published comments do not once mention “proletariat,” “workers,” “class,” “capitalism,” or “bourgeoisie.”
Another view from respected China-watcher Bill Bishop’s newsletter today (paywall):
It matters little whether we foreigners think this talk of Marx and Communist is all just BS, and does not matter much more if most PRC citizens have tuned out. What matters is whether or not Xi believes it. For a long time I have thought he did and have only become more convinced of that over the last couple of years.
Yes, doubling down on Marxism is a means to an end for the Party, but that does not also mean that Xi himself is not an ardent Marxist whose fervor is only increasing as he sees a world evolving and fracturing in ways that would stir the loins of any sentient Chinese Marxist historical materialist.