.. and it’s official! Xi Jinping’s road to recovery is the neoliberal policies of Shenzhen and Guangdong.Yes, the first signal of whither Xi Jinping is pointing to Shekou, by way of the second of Shenzhen’s top ten concepts.
If CCTV is to believed everyone is enthusiastically studying the spirit of the 18th national people’s congress. Xi Jinping and friends have charted a road to recovery that sounds exactly like Yuan Geng, 1992, except of course in English, where the translations have missed the historical citation.
Xi Jinping, 2012: 空谈误国，实干兴邦 (Empty talk is useless, only hard work can achieve the revival of a nation).
Yuan Geng, 1992: 空谈误国，实干兴邦 (Empty talk endangers the nation, practical work brings prosperity).
Not surprisingly, Xi Jinping’s “it’s the economy” moment parallels Yuan Geng’s. Yuan Geng first decried empty talk in response to Beijing educators who claimed that Shekou youth were gold diggers (Shekou Storm 1988). First time round, empty talk actually supported alternative voices. However, Yuan Geng made empty talk an official Shekou slogan response as part of Deng Xiaoping’s 1992 Southern Tour in an effort to silence critics about the June 4th Incident, returning the focus of reform to economic growth. Second time round, empty talk seemed to mean “suck it up and get back to work”.
So here we are. Again. And inquiring minds want to know: is Xi JInping talking the talk of 1988 or the talk of 1992?
Personally, I’m thinking we’re still caught in the post 6.4 quagmire. Xi Jinping’s less talk, more action comes in the aftermath of the Bo Xilai incident and the demise of the Chongqing Model, which included the call for a return to collectivist economic policies a la Mao Zedong. Speculation du jour: Xi Jinping’s road to recovery is probably the continued silencing of progressive voices for social liberalization in favor of rising GDP, or the “steady at 7 (经济保7)” policy, a reference to China’s decision to continue to grow the GDP at 7% annually.