China Centre Tübingen (CCT)

Making China great again: ‘national revitalisation’ and the power of personality from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping

Since the Opium War of 1840, "the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation" has been the dream of the Chinese people. The founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 was the first step towards making that dream come true. This lecture examines the efforts of the Communist leadership to “make China great again,” focusing on the role of personal charisma in mobilising Chinese society for the task of national rejuvenation. Special attention will be given to two leaders, Mao Zedong and Xi Jinping, who arguably epitomise the power of personality. While Mao had great success in using his charisma to achieve many domestic and foreign policy goals, it is far from clear that Xi has been equally successful. The lecture concludes by discussing domestic and international constraints that could delay--or even derail--the materialisation of the China Dream.

Professor Xie Tao has taught at Beijing Foreign Studies University since 2007 and currently serves as Associate Dean of the School of English and International Studies. He holds a BA from Sichuan University and an MA from Beijing Foreign Studies University in China and a PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University, USA.

He teaches a range of courses on both Chinese and US politics and has a research focus on Chinese foreign and security policy, Chinese domestic politics, East Asian regional security, U.S.-China relations and U.S. politics (Congress and public opinion).