Xi Jinping’s Empire of Tedium

It is five years since we announced the launching of China Heritage at the end of a speech titled Living with Xi Dada’s China — Making Choices and Cutting Deals and published A Monkey King’s Journey to the East, the inaugural article in our online journal. It is also ten years since the irresistible rise of Xi Jinping.

We mark this occasion, and the beginning of the end of Xi Jinping’s first decennary as head of China’s party-state-army, with Xi Jinping’s Empire of Tedium, a series written and published online in the Wairarapa, on the southern tip of Te Ika-a-Māui, the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Xi Jinping’s Empire of Tedium is the theme of China Heritage Annual 2022.

— Geremie R. Barmé, Editor, China Heritage
Distinguished Fellow, The Asia Society
1 January 2022


Communist Chinese politics are a lugubrious merry-go-round … and in order to appreciate fully the déjà-vu quality of its latest convolutions, you would need to have watched it revolved for half a century. The main problem with many of our politicians and pundits is that their memories are too short, thus forever preventing them from putting events and personalities in a true historical perspective.

Simon Leys quoted in Watching China Watching
China Heritage, 2018


Background Reading


Xi Jinping’s Empire of Tedium

Geremie R. Barmé

For Xu Zhangrun 許章潤




  • Prologue 真面目 — The True Face of Mount Lu, 1 January 2022
  • An Illustrated Proem 鴟 — A Winking Owl, a Volant Dragon & the Tiger’s Arse, 10 January 2022
  • A New Year’s Card — Greeting the Year of the Tiger 壬寅虎年, 31 January 2022
  • Introduction 瞽 — You Should Look Back, 1 February 2022
  • A Tally 單 — The Threnody of Tedium, 18 February 2022
  • Chapter One 比 — We Need to Talk About Totalitarianism, Again, 31 March 2022
  • Chapter Two 旋 — The Lugubrious Merry-go-round
  • Chapter Three 迴 — Turn, Turn, Turn
  • Chapter Four 變 — From Reform to Revival
  • Chapter Five 蔭 — Shadows of 1644
  • Chapter Six 彪 — The Tyger’s Red Genes
  • Chapter Seven 甦 — The Xi Jinping Restoration
  • Chapter Eight 曲 — The History Men
  • Chapter Nine 讕 — The Factory of Lies
  • Chapter Ten 兲 — Horses Don’t Exist
  • Chapter Eleven 伎 — The Theatre of Politics
  • Chapter Twelve 緘 — A State of Cultural Boredom
  • Chapter Thirteen 刁 — Thick Skin, Black Heart
  • Chapter Fourteen 喬 — Professional Chinamen
  • Chapter Fifteen 丕 — A Century of Cancellation
  • Chapter Sixteen 膜 — Taiwan, ROC (The Republic of Comedy)
  • Chapter Seventeen 期 — Ecce Homo! — Hopium & China’s Hopiod Crisis
  • Chapter Eighteen 熬 — The Copium of the Masses
  • Chapter Nineteen 祗 — The Miraculous Chairman Xi
  • Conclusion 憬 — An Irrealis Mood & China Hopium



Previous Issues of China Heritage Annual:

Extended Background Reading for China Heritage Annual 2022