Maoist Self-Criticism Comes to a TV Near You

On the evening of Sept. 25, Xi Jinping debuted in his role as China’s father-confessor across state-owned television stations. The occasion was the conclusion of three days of self-criticism sessions that the Chinese president oversaw in Hebei province. Wearing his signature black jacket and open-collared white shirt, Xi sat listening to nervous high-ranking local officials. They had reason to be worried: According to Xinhua News Agency, the state newswire, Xi had stern expectations for what would be accomplished (according to official press accounts, he attended four half-day sessions): “I don’t want to hear fancy words from you when I take part in your sessions. I want real criticisms and self-criticisms.”

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