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China's new 'starting point' shows Xi Jinping is here to stay

A rare resolution passed earlier this week by the party's Central Committee confirmed that Xi's "original ideas" and "transformative practices" had led China into a new era

Chinese government | China | Xi Jinping


Xi Jingping
Members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee raise their hands to lead the voting during the sixth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the CPC in Beijing (PTI via Xinhua)

Chinese President appeared more certain than ever to rule the country well into the current decade, as senior Communist Party officials declared that the country had reached a new “historical starting point” under his leadership.

A rare resolution passed earlier this week by the party’s Central Committee confirmed that Xi’s “original ideas” and “transformative practices” had led into a new era, Wang Xiaohui, executive vice propaganda minister told a briefing Friday in Beijing. The declaration, which had not been released in full as of Friday afternoon, suggested that Xi, 68, was just getting started as his second five-year term as party leader winds down.

Only Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping have authored such doctrines before and both documents helped those party titans lead until their dying days.

“Certainly, sees himself on par with those two leaders, which I think tell us that he sees himself as a fundamental transformational leadership for China,” Jude Blanchette, Freemman chair at the Center for Strategic and Studies in Washington, told Bloomberg Television. “I think we need to accept that he’s large and in charge for the foreseeable future.”

The powerful Central Committee approved Xi’s magnum opus at a four-day meeting that began Monday, according to a communique published late Thursday. Getting the group of almost 400 members to sign off on his doctrine was a clear sign Xi has the power base needed to clinch a third term at the next leadership congress, which the communique said would be held in the second half of 2022.

Xi showed the nation was “standing at a new historical starting point, looking back at the past and looking forward to the future,” Wang said. The readout’s call to implement the president’s doctrine to achieve goals through 2049 was another sign he was likely to secure a third term — breaking a two-term precedent set by his immediate predecessors

What defines Xi’s rise?

The Significance: This projects the image that the party under Xi has engineered a system that adapts to the times and delivers on its citizens’ desire for better quality of life for themselves and their families, and greater respect for in the community.

The Meeting: While extolling the party's successes, the resolution glosses over less flattering periods such as the massive famine and industrial failure of the Great Leap Forward in the late '50s and early '60s, the chaotic 1966-76 Cultural Revolution and the political upheaval of the 1989 student-led pro-democracy movement in Beijing that was crushed by the army.

The Purpose: The gathering aimed to achieve unity of thinking and unity of purpose.

Existing Challenges: Xi faces no political rivals at home, but he does face a difficult economic. Relations with the US are especially tense amid disputes over trade, technology and China's threats against Taiwan.

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First Published: Sat, November 13 2021. 01:35 IST