China after Reform: The Ideological, Constitutional, and Organisational Makings of a New Era

Heike Holbig


In late 2017, the Chinese Communist Party proclaimed the “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.” Most observers interpreted this step as just another update of the party’s ideological canon to accommodate Xi’s ambition to increase his personal power, following in the footsteps of Mao Zedong. This contribution argues that we can achieve a better understanding of the claim about a “new era,” if this claim is analysed diachronically as an ongoing process of constructing “chrono-ideological narratives” that link past and future, as well as synchronically in the larger context of recent constitutional and organisational changes. It finds that the “new era” discourse might, in the longer term, have ramifications not only for China’s domestic politics but also for the country’s self-image in the international arena too.

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