In the past few days, an article titled “The Research Group of the Chinese Academy of History: New Explorations on the Problem of “Seclusion and Lockdown” in the Ming and Qing Dynasties has become popular on the Internet. It is said that it is a signal for Xi Jinping to reverse the car and turn left quickly, paving the way for returning to Mao Zedong’s isolated era.

Although Xi Jinping holds great power, he must guard against political enemies, assassinations, and overseas subversion.

According to Vision Times, as the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China approaches, Xi Jinping’s bid for three consecutive terms is full of challenges: 

First, insisting on the Zero-Covid policy has caused China’s economy to stagnate and decline sharply, with an unemployment rate as high as 20%,

Second, public grievances and protests have intensified due to city closures, unfinished buildings, and bank fraud cases;

Third, internationally, large-scale military exercises by the Chinese Communist Party have raised tensions across the Taiwan Strait, U.S.-China relations have continued to move toward confrontation, and the Western world is increasingly on the alert against Xi Jinping.

Will the domestic and foreign dilemma force Xi Jinping to continue reform and opening up or take advantage of the trend to close the country?

According to the article “New Explorations on the Problem of “Seclusion and Lockdown of the Country” in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the Ming and Qing Dynasties were not “closed countries” but only set an “autonomous limit” to prevent Western colonial aggression.

The article immediately aroused great attention in Chinese public opinion. Many people directly linked the article to the measures taken by the authorities to restrict exchanges with foreign countries under the “Zero-Covid policy.” Moreover, they accused the article’s theme of rejecting reform and opening up.

However, public opinion exclaimed that this is to reverse the verdict of “closing the country,” which has a political trend.

The Vision Times quoted some netizens’ comments as follows:

“It turns out that the feudal society we learned in history classes since childhood was incompetent.”

“It turns out that the feudal society we learned in history classes since childhood was incompetent, the bureaucracy was corrupt, and the country’s isolation led to the country’s backwardness. It’s all wrong?!”

“The ‘closed country’ caused the ignorance and backwardness of our nation, and it has also directly led to the demise of the feudal dynasty. Nowadays, reform and opening up has made China rich, and it has long been the consensus of the people of the whole country….”

Chen Kuide, executive chairman of the Princeton China Society of the United States, told RFA that the background of this article is that Xi Jinping is testing the waters in politics to seek re-election. 

Kuide analyzed that the various policies since Xi Jinping came to power will logically lead to a closed country. “He is now justifying his policy and looking for a theoretical basis. He wants to promote the reform and opening up in the past to break the closed country and so on. The logic is all destroyed, so he wants to reverse the verdict for closing the country.”

Chen Kuide analyzed that the timing of this article was right after the Beidaihe meeting. The CCP’s political elders were likely to criticize Xi Jinping during the meeting, which constituted resistance to his re-election. Therefore, Xi Jinping had to prepare for public opinion, “he wants the release of these public opinions showing that he has not fully achieved his goals, that is to say, the current political struggle is still in a deadlock state. Therefore, these things are thrown out to prepare for public opinion.”

It has been more than 40 years since the CCP’s reform and opening up. Although public opinion can build momentum for a “closed country,” will China return to the era of a closed country? Most netizens think it is impossible.

A Shanghai financial expert who requested anonymity analyzed that this possibility is unlikely. “If the country is closed, the audit supervision agreement between China and the United States will not be reached this time. It may just be that the way of opening up will be very different.” 

The elites are the most prominent opponents of a “closed country” because this is equivalent to cutting off their money.

Li Hengqing, director of the “Institute of Information and Strategy,” believes that from the perspective of power held by Xi Jinping, he has a way to close the country “because he holds the handle of the knife, the barrel of the gun and the barrel of the pen, all three of which are in his hands. He is here, including the mouthpiece.” However, he also believes that in the long run, it is impossible to reverse the car like closing the country … If it does succeed, it would be China’s tragedy.

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.