Xi and the paramount power of being chairman

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks in Beijing's Great Hall of the People on Oct 23, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING - As chairman of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Mao Zedong ruled China with an iron fist for nearly 30 years. While the revolutionary hero may forever be associated with the slogan "the Chinese people have stood up", with the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, he also nearly brought the nation to its knees again when his power ran unchecked.

The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) was a reign of terror which saw Chairman Mao purge his political rivals, mobilising radical youth in political campaigns marked by humiliating "struggle sessions", torture, arbitrary arrests, killings and suicides. One of its victims was Deng Xiaoping, who was demoted from vice-premier to a worker at a tractor factory in Jiangxi province in 1969. Deng consoled himself that at least he was able to care for his son who was left a paraplegic after jumping out of a building to escape a mob of marauding Red Guards.

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