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Document reveals Xi’s shock power grab

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Beijing has released a 36,000-word document which all but guarantees President Xi Jinping’s reign will be extended – and could even see him rule for life.

    The Chinese Communist Party has publicly released a lengthy, groundbreaking document that potentially paves the way for President Xi Jinping to rule for life.

    The CCP has just published the 36,000-word text – a historical resolution passed by top-ranking officials at last week’s top-secret sixth plenary session of the Central Committee held in Beijing.

    The “draft resolution on the major achievements and historical experience of the [party’s] 100 years of endeavours” – the first official announcement on Chinese history in four long decades – was delivered by Mr Xi himself, and it covered the party’s origins as well as the president’s strategy to cement China as a leading world power.

    While on the surface it doesn’t seem especially momentous, there have only been two others in China’s history who have written historical resolutions – Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping – and both went on to rule for the rest of their lives.

    Experts have widely interpreted Xi’s successful resolution as a sign his unprecedented third term, tipped to begin next year, will be a sure thing – and could then secure his lifelong power.

    “Getting the party to back his take on China’s history – and its future – would be the biggest sign yet that Xi has the power base to potentially rule for life after almost a decade of purging enemies and pushing to foster national pride,” Bloomberg’s Jenni Marsh explained earlier this month.

    The successful resolution also gives Xi, 68, greater authority to enact his chosen policies, such as the “common prosperity” campaign which aims to redistribute wealth and which has seen billionaires and celebrities fall foul of the party machine and $1 trillion slashed from the value of Chinese stocks earlier this year.

    Inside Xi’s plan

    So what does the resolution actually say?

    Crucially, it ensures Xi’s position as the CCP’s “core leader”, and cements his ideology, known as the Xi Jinping Thought, as the primary guide for China in the decades ahead.

    It also extensively focuses on the party’s successes since it was founded in 1921.

    And when it came to China’s vision for the future, according to Bloomberg, it confirmed Beijing’s commitment to fight corruption – described as “the greatest threat to the party’s long-term governance” – and Western democratic influence.

    It condemned “money worship”, “extreme individualism” and corruption, which the resolution claimed had been on the rise over the past four decades, and pushed for stricter leadership and discipline.

    It also stressed the importance of harnessing the power of the internet – and uniting with Taiwan, stating that “full national reunification with Taiwan will be achieved eventually”.

    The document argued that “GDP cannot be the sole criterion of success”, with other benchmarks, such as innovation and environmental action, to be prioritised.

    It also listed goals such as cutting debt, achieving common prosperity and cracking down on monopolies.

    ‘The New Era’

    CCP mouthpiece the Global Times was unsurprisingly full of praise both for the document, and Xi himself.

    “Observers in Chinese politics stressed that the resolution showed China has reached a new stage in its historical development which is inseparable from the strong leadership of the CPC [Communist Party of China] Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, during which time the CPC has fully shown its advantages to tackle various problems and obstacles, and it guides the Chinese people to forge ahead bravely in the New Era,” an article stated in the wake of the resolution’s release.

    “The resolution, which lists 13 aspects of specific challenges, risks and problems the Party faced, said the Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has demonstrated great historical initiative, tremendous political courage, and a powerful sense of mission in upholding the Party’s overall leadership, exercising full and rigorous self-governance, pursuing economic development, spurring ecological advancement, strengthening national defence and the armed forces, safeguarding national security, upholding the One Country, Two Systems policy and promoting national reunification.”

    Speaking to the BBC, Adam Ni, editor of Chinese current affairs newsletter China Neican, said the resolution proved Xi was “trying to cast himself as the hero in the epic of China’s national journey”.

    “By pushing through a historical resolution that puts himself at the centre of the grand narrative of the Party and modern China, Mr Xi is demonstrating his power,” Ni said.

    “But the document is also a tool to help him retain this power.”

    Read related topics:China

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