Twice Bao Tong rose within the Chinese Communist Party’s hierarchy, and twice he was dramatically cut down. He has endured long spells in jail and “re-education” for failing to fall into line behind the hard-liners holding power.
So it is perhaps no surprise that this 85-year-old views the Chinese president’s latest attempt to impose his dogma on the entire nation — under the banner of Xi Jinping Thought — with a considerable degree of skepticism.
“In China’s history of more than 3,000 years, there were other leaders who tried to use their own thoughts to regulate the thoughts of others,” he said in an interview in his modest Beijing apartment. “But none were successful. There were only failed attempts.”