There were only a few things wrong with the massive parade today in Beijing celebrating the 70th anniversary of V-J Day, Victory over Japan Day. The folks doing the celebrating only tangentially represent the Chinese who most actively resisted the Japanese invaders. And the celebration itself, meant to signify China's emerging superpower status, fell a little flat.
Xi Jinping and his associates at the top levels of the Chinese government have been on the move. They have been pushing a society-wide anti-corruption campaign, targeting in particular some high-ranking rivals, and in recent weeks have been unusually aggressive with their neighbors Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines, unusually harsh in their anti-U.S. rhetoric, and unusually repressive of dissident voices inside China. They have moved to re-shape the internal workings of the government to concentrate more power in personal authority at the top and less in written rules or in government bureaucracies. They have floated the idea of a new Chinese "strongman," clearly intending to suggest that Xi Jinping might be one. Mao Zedong is the best model for all of this, but Xi Jinping is no Mao, and how things will actually end up is anyone's guess.