LIKE MAO ZEDONG and Deng Xiaoping before him, President Xi Jinping has a historical resolution to consolidate his authority by placing him in the vanguard of the Party’s future history.
According to the communique issued at the culmination of the sixth plenum of the Party’s 19th central committee that had opened in Beijing on Monday, it was resolved that the lesson to draw from the Party’s history was to stay steadfast in 10 areas, with the party leadership being the top priority,
The Party has established Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position on the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole and defined the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. This reflects the common will of the Party, the armed forces, and the Chinese people of all ethnic groups, and is of decisive significance for advancing the cause of the Party and the country in the new era and for driving forward the historic process of national rejuvenation.
The plenum involved 348 full and alternate members of the Party’s 19th Central Committee plus a couple of dozen other senior officials and advisors, in effect the country’s top leadership. It is a critical preparatory meeting for the 20th National Congress, which will be held in the second half of next year and which will appoint the Party’s leaders for the following five years.
Xi is expected to be reappointed then for a third term. The two-term limit on the presidency was abolished in 2018. However, there is likely to be considerable turnover among the other members of the top leadership.
The historical resolution passed at the culmination of the plenum is only the third in a century. It summarises the Party’s 100-year history, documenting its key achievements and future directions in a way that provides a continuous narrative that entrenches Xi’s personal leadership as the defining framework for Chinese politics for as long as he wishes — or is able — to retain power. It also makes Xi all but invulnerble to political attack certainly between now and the 20th National Congress.
The Central Committee called for:
The entire Party, the military, and all Chinese people to rally more closely around the Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, to fully implement Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and to champion the great founding spirit of the Party.
The official English text of the communique issued after the plenum, containing a lengthy passage on the text of the resolution but not the full text, can be found via this link.
The Cliff Notes parsing of what the communique says about the resolution is that the direct line from Mao to Xi has been made thicker, and the intermediate stop of Deng has been lightened. That not only puts Xi on a par with Mao when it comes to political authority but gives him the platform to pursue the policies that fall out of his ideology, Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for the New Era, which has now been similarly elevated.
The communique also summaries what the top leaders see as their achievements over the past year:
The economy has maintained good momentum, positive advances have been made in building up China’s scientific and technological self-reliance, and further progress has been achieved in reform and opening up. A complete victory has been secured in the fight against poverty as scheduled, the people’s wellbeing has been further improved, social stability has been maintained, steady progress was made in modernizing national defense and the armed forces, and China’s major-country diplomacy has advanced on all fronts. The campaign on studying the Party’s history has produced solid results, and severe natural disasters of multiple categories have been dealt with effectively.