The Reappearance of the Cult of Personality in China


Over the past 2 years, there have been signs that the Chinese Communist Party has activated the propaganda machine to build a cult of personality around the current leader: Xi Jinping. The campaign has global ambitions. This study analyzes Chinese state media news stories, music videos, and animation on social media to discuss the themes of rhetoric and ritual. Using firsthand observation along with a brief comparison of the Soviet Union system and the history of the Communist Party of China (CPC), this study provides details on how the CPC is attempting to produce a cult of personality and the constraints it faces in doing so. Understanding this process is important for understanding the CPC and predicting whether China will continue to experience personalized regimes in the future.

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Correspondence to Luwei Rose Luqiu.

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Luqiu, L.R. The Reappearance of the Cult of Personality in China. East Asia 33, 289–307 (2016).

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  • Cult of personality
  • Propaganda
  • China
  • Autocracy
  • Authoritarian regime