11/02/2021, 14.34
CHINA
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6th Plenum: 'historic' resolution to place Xi Jinping on par with Mao and Deng

by Lu Haitao

It is the third such document since the founding of the Chinese Communist Party. The plenary will set the stage for next year's 20th Congress. Uncertainties shroud power transition. Xi faced with multiple challenges as he enters ì his third term as supreme leader.

Beijing (AsiaNews) -China's decision-making body is preparing for the power reshuffle on the 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in the autumn of 2022. The focus of the sixth plenary of the 19th CCP Central Committee, to be held from 8 to 11 November, is the "Resolution on history", which is the third document of this kind in the history of CCP, concluding the historical narrative on key issues of the leadership and the major events of the party.

The constitutional amendment in 2018 canceled the term limit, allowing Xi Jinping to continueto serve as the president after two terms. It is expected that Xi will break the unwritten routine of two terms in office as party boss, and stay as the supreme leader.

In the history of the CCP, two previous "Resolutions on history" were made by Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. The first one in 1945 was the culmination of the purge of factions that unified the guidelines of the CCP and confirmed Mao was the sole leader of the party. The latter in 1981, after Cultural Revolution, confirmed Deng's leadership and expelled the leftists. The resolution in 1981 admitted Mao's fault on Cultural Revolution during his old age, but still maintains Mao Thought as the party's guideline.

The details of the resolution have not been revealed, but the party hint that the resolution will center on Xi's core position and Xi Thought as the guideline and encompass his century blueprint of becoming "a great modern socialist country" by 2049, the 100th anniversary of the People's Republic of China to confirm his legitimacy and position in history.

As the closed-door meeting approaches, authorities have cracked down on various industries including finance, media and education: more restrictions are imposed on enterprises listed in overseas stock exchange, especially giants in the areas of fintech, ride-hailing and variety of online services; non-state-owned capital are not allowed to invest in media.

After the implementation of harsh regulations on after-school education, Xi Jinping Thought has become the curriculum for students across China. The series of measures have failed to revive a slack economy which even chills the private economy under the context of Xi's slogan "common prosperity".

Official propaganda claims that time and momentum are on China's side. However, the risk of stagflation is surfacing, as the 4.9% GDP growth in the third quarter of 2021 is lower than expected, while the companies' debts and defaults, including Evergrande, pose a systematic risk. From the external perspective, a punitive ban on Australian coal has troubled electric supply, therefore China has to increase the domestic coal production to alleviate the outage, not to mention the promise of decreasing carbon emission. According to an analysis of the Wall Street Journal, to achieve carbon neutralization means to restructure the economy.

Beijing has not announced Xi's absence to Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, but analysis says Xi will not go himself. State news agency Xinhua attributed Xi's absence to G20 Summit in Rome to the quarantine policy in China. Xi has not been abroad for over 600 days, and Xi gave a video speech on G20 that opposed politicization of COVID virus origin tracing, and touted Chinese vaccine, as well as Belt and Road strategy.

Though Xi's absence from the events may make difficulties for the diplomacy, comments argue that the party's plenary preparation for Xi's next term is more important. While his potential opponents within the party have been purged by anti-corruption measures, at least unharmonized sounds are silenced.

Meanwhile, the mechanism of power transition remains unsolved. Recently Xi argued if people "are only favored during the election campaign and left out after the election, then such democracy is not real democracy". Xi also put forward that "to judge whether a country's political system is democratic and effective mainly depends on whether the reshuffle of leadership is by the law and in order". Abandoning the leadership for life was Deng Xiaoping's heritage and it can be a weapon for the factions against Xi in the party.

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