Morality as Legitimacy under Xi Jinping: The Political Functionality of Traditional Culture for the Chinese Communist Party

Aleksandra Kubat


Taking as an example Xi Jinping’s use of the phrase “excellent traditional culture” (优秀传统文化, youxiu chuantong wenhua), this article looks at the construction of a centrally sanctioned narrative of traditional Chinese culture in resources produced within the Party school system. The specific focus of analysis is on how these resources theorise the functionality of traditional culture for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as a political organisation, and what culture-based solutions they put forward to tackle the problems with Party theory and ideology, the state governance model, and cadre performance. It is argued that by referencing traditional culture, and, in particular, by drawing on traditional moral virtues, the CCP re-aligns itself with societal expectations without making concessions over the ideological foundations of the party state.

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