This study explores Chinese cultural nationalism since Xi Jinping became the President, that is, the ways that Xi constructs and politicises culture to serve his nationalist interests. It first situates cultural nationalism in the global context and clarifies its usage in China. Then the article explains how national humiliation, the ‘sick man’ metaphor, the ‘great power’ narrative, and national rejuvenation provide a broader context of understanding Chinese cultural nationalism. Applying summative content analysis to examine the government discourse on its website since Xi Jinping became the president in 2012, this article shows that Xi downplays national humiliation and the ‘sick man’ metaphor while emphasising the ‘great power’ narrative and national rejuvenation. The author argues that this politisation of culture has a strong personal feature of Xi and serves his nationalist purposes in many ways. Finally, this article discusses the rationales and risks of his promotion of such cultural nationalism and the implications of the study. Copyright © 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.