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Is Xi the Modern Day Li Shi Min Leading China into Its New Golden Age?

It is often enlightening to observe what TV programs are being shown to get an inkling of what the government wants people to think. Leading up to the Olympics and June 2009, there were numerous TV serials about the Ming dynasty and Chinese venturing to places like Southeast Asia in search of a better life but not forgetting their Chinese roots. One particular serial was "" which recounts the time of China's maritime supremacy in the 1400s this all just before the 60th anniversary of its navy in 2009 and subsequent flexing of its muscles in the South China Sea.

More recently, several TV stations are showing serials about the Tang dynasty, seen as a golden age of China.1 Of note would be and which translates to "The Sui and Tang Heroes" and which means "Dreams or Memories of the Tang Dynasty".

The end of the Sui dynasty displayed the height of corruption and decadence of the royal family while the people suffered abuse and grave injustice. This brought about an internal revolution amongst the nobility, clans and some commoners which was ultimately led by the aristocratic Li family of generals. Li Shi Min's father was a duke in the Sui dynasty.

In the serials the heroes, consisting of several in the nobility and clans as well as some disenfranchised officials and generals or general's children, band together against the Sui so they can "administer justice on behalf of Heaven" (). To cut a long story short, Li Shi Min, a military genius with a good mind and high EQ, wins the trust and loyalty of this band to eventually help his father defeat the Sui army and other opportunistic wannabes to unify the country. He also gets rid of his "evil scheming brothers" to be the deserving crown prince and eventually deposes his father to become the second emperor of the Tang dynasty (See Emperor Taizong of Tang). He then leads the Tang dynasty into its golden age.

Is there a parallel here? Almost intolerable corruption and acknowledged injustices and inequality for the past 20-30 years and now, a leader who appears to be serious about tackling corruption, improving justice, continuing to pursue economic reforms and embracing openness. (See East Asia Forum)

In the run-up to Xi's appointment, a princeling by the name of Bo, was "deposed" (not that it was undeserving) and who knows which other scheming princelings and "generals" were neutered! (See Wikipedia - Xi Jinping).

Perhaps this is to give people hope that things will only get better in the country that eventually they will experience another golden era just like the Tang!

Image credit: Xi Jinping, by Global Panorama, via Flickr


1For more about the Tang dynasty, see,, and

Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily (pseudonym) has been in leadership roles that involve vision casting, strategic planning and implementation, and leadership training. View Full Bio