In building a new empire, China needs to reconsider its brand. The Middle Kingdom? That’s a no go in the twenty-first century. The Maoist Peoples Republic of China? Too much focus on the “people” and a social state. China is building its power on the model of the state capitalism with very high levels of exploitation. As the consequence, dispossessed Chinese peasants are forming huge numbers of lumpen proletariat – the disenchanted working class – while nine members of Chinese Politburo, who are governing the country in the name of Communist Party, are worth tens of billions of dollars. But luckily, even a modern totalitarian state has serious problems in implementing communist ideology. One of the reasons for this is the cycle of the booming economy which coming to its end. Chinese power is therefore looking for a more adequate tool for social control. Socialist, egalitarian society preached by Marxist-Leninism is no longer credible. Chinese power elite has been testing other models and ideologies for years. It seems now that Confuciusianism is becoming the prevailing candidate to replace Mao and Marx. Moreover, Neo-Confucianism as the state religion is functioning well in Singapore. However, Chinese authorities had some problems with introducing the new Master. The boldest and perhaps most intruiging experiment of replacement of deities happened in 2011, when a 31-foot bronze statue of the old sage appeared overnight next to Mao’s mausoleum. It disappeared few days later, but the changes continued, as Evan Osnos described in his long-form journalistic piece before he left Beijing.
In December, when media organizations reported on the new march of Chinese Nationalists against the western values, they were wrong about one thing: the process of replacing the Chinese Communist Party with a new icon is in full swing and Confucius is an absolute frontrunner to make it to the throne.