September 24, 2021

How Xi Jinping’s growing personality cult differs from Kim family worship

North Korea’s idolatry is rooted in past accomplishments while China’s Xi stakes his legitimacy on future performance

The Chinese government recently announced that “Xi Jinping Thought,” the political ideology of the country’s president, would be included in the national curriculum, part of a decadelong drive inside China to boost Xi Jinping’s prestige and status both in the PRC and around the world. 

On the surface, Xi’s growing personality cult mirrors the Kims’ across the Yalu River in North Korea. Both are based on ideological control, centralized state power and loyalty to the Party. The promotion of the leader as a “man of the people” also takes place in both socialist states.