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The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (中国共产党第十九次全国代表达会) was opened last year (on October 2017), with a speech by Xi Jinping (习近平).
Xi, who then started his second five-year term (任期rèn qí) as the president of the People’s Republic of China, spoke for about three and a half hours. He announced the beginning of a new era (时代shí dài), and talked about leading his country into that new era with an ideology he named “Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristic for a New Era” (新时代中国特色社会主义思想).
A week later, in the closing session of the congress, the Communist Party added Xi’s ideology into its constitution (党章dǎng zhāng). More than two thousand delegates voted unanimously to incorporate Xi Jinping political thought into China’s fundamental law. Thus, making Xi the first leader since Mao Zedong to have his ideology described as “thought” and included in the Party documents while in office. The other theory to be enshrined in the constitution after Mao’s death is “Deng Xiaoping Theory” (邓小平理论), which was added only after Deng passed away.
Xi Jinping’s thought was granted a prominent place in the preamble of China’s constitution, securing Xi as China’s strongest man. Enshrining his name and doctrine in the party constitution makes Xi unchallengeable. From now on, threatening Xi means threatening the Communist Party, which means threatening the government.
Renmin University was the first to establish a research center (研究中心yán jiū zhōng xīn) for learning Xi Thought. One after the other, universities around China followed with their own Xi Thought Centers. The Chinese Ministry of Education announced Xi Thought as the new addition to high school curriculum.
A five-part TV show called 新时代学习大会 was aired in October during prime time on Hunan Television. The hostess says: 目的就是以大学习领会新思想，拥抱新时代 (mùdì jiùshì yǐ dà xuéxí lǐnghuì xīn sīxiǎng, yǒngbào xīn shídài, “the purpose is to learn and understand the new thought and to embrace the new era”).
The show was conducted in the form of a quiz contest and challenged its participants with questions about Xi’s life and ideas. In the next video, for example, one of the show’s expert asks the participant Liu Linda:
Shénme yàng de lǐlùn cái suàndé shàng shì wěidà de lǐlùn?
What kind of theory considered a great theory?
Liu, who holds a doctorate in Marxism from Beijing University, answered without hesitation:
Wěidà de lǐlùn yīdìng shì lìshǐ de lǐlùn, kēxué de lǐlùn, rénmín de lǐlùn… Zài dāngdài wěidà de lǐlùn jiùshì xíjìnpíng xīn shídài zhōngguó tèsè shèhuì zhǔyì sīxiǎng.
A great theory is a historical theory, a scientific theory, theory of the people… At present, a great theory is Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristic for a New Era.
新时代中国特色社会主义思想 xīn shídài zhōngguó tèsè shèhuì zhǔyì sīxiǎng = “Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristic for a New Era” . In short: 习近平思想Xí jìnpíng sī xiǎng = Xi Thought
共产党 gòng chǎn dǎng = the Communist Party
代表 dài biǎo = representative
任期 rèn qí = term of office, tenure of office
时代 shí dài = era, period, age
特色 tè sè = characteristic
宪法 xiàn fǎ = constitution
党章 dǎng zhāng = party constitution
研究中心 yán jiū zhōng xīn = research center
理论 lǐ lùn = theory
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