The black swan

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The black swan

The author is a Beijing correspondent of the JoongAng Ilbo.

Last week, reporters from 35 foreign media outlets visited the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China in Beijing. The Publicity Department prepared the event to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the country. It’s vice president said the central party school was the highest educational institute and think tank of the party and the nation. The campus shares the central axis with the Summer Palace, which had been an imperial garden. The location fits its reputation as the cradle of power.

The Central Party School is a networking platform connecting the next leader and next-generation executives. Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping served as president of the school before coming into power. The school handpicks ministerial-level officials, mid-level officials and executives at state-run companies to help them maintain man-to-man connections with its president. I asked the guide about how the president interacted with students. I learned that they have various contacts, including special lectures and tea time.

Along the axis, I saw a stone plate which read “The Central Party School of the Communist Party of China” written by Jiang Zemin inside the south gate. It is a controversial stone that was brought inside in 2015 from its original location just past the school gate.

The campus was filled with messages. “Comrades in Arms” — a sculpture of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels — stands behind the main building, and a sculpture of Mao Zedong — “The old president of our school” — stands at the square in front of the auditorium. The statue of Deng Xiaoping, the architect of the school, can be found in the square in front of the main complex. Behind the statue is a large sculpture named “The Banner,” with a red party flag, which was installed in December 2016. It describes the unity of socialist builders — such as workers, farmers, intellectuals, officials and the Liberation Army — gathering around the party with Xi Jinping at the center. A red boat representing the message of not forgetting their original mindset can be found by the lake next to the axis.

A black swan was also on the lake. It signifies a consequence that is unlikely to happen yet is very serious once it happens. On Jan. 21, the party called the leaders to the Central School. The purpose was to participate in a special discussion course to adhere to the line for key ministerial and general-level officials and to prevent and resolve serious risks. Chinese President Xi Jinping took the podium at the opening ceremony. He asked the participants to be vigilant about black swan cases. When I saw the swan, I checked the Blue House’s Facebook page. It only contained hopeful news, such as a $8.5 billion MOU and President Moon Jae-in’s Northern Europe tour.

JoongAng Ilbo, July 5, Page 28
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