Communist Party infighting, a sign that Xi Jinping doesn’t control everything
Cracks have appeared in the CCP before and after its sixth plenary session. Internal opposition prevents President Xi from imposing his version of the third “historic resolution”. The case of tennis player Peng Shuai was artfully built to hit Zhang Gaoli. The Chinese do not accept Xi's dictatorial model. The “father of democracy" in China, now exiled in the United States, offers his thoughts.
Washington (AsiaNews) – The sixth plenary session of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) approved a very strange resolution, a so-called historical resolution that was similar to previous ones but did not look like them.
According to the format of the CCP's two previous historical resolutions, the new one should have superseded them and established a new core leadership group and a new roadmap for the future.
The traditional CCP method was to tamper with history and create a great image for the party. Xi Jinping intended to do just that. Unfortunately for him, the atmosphere of the first two CCP's historical resolutions is not present in the new one, nor can he claim the prestige attached to the first two great leaders, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.
The new roadmap has also not been unanimously accepted within the Chinese Communist Party. In fact, before the sixth plenary session of the CCP's 19th Congress, strong resistance was already evident with more than 500 opinions put forward and fundamental changes made.
Although Xi's ally, Li Zhanshu, roared like thunder, he failed to suppress the opposition. Even if Xi Jinping headed the group that drafted the resolution, he was unable to force everyone to accept it as he wanted it. All this proves that the foreign media’s claim that Xi is in control of everything is the product of the CCP's propaganda machine for the outside world, rather than the real situation.
Before the sixth plenary session, internal fighting in the CCP was hidden and unknown to the outside world. Reports after the plenary session suggest that discussions over the text were very fierce, far beyond the usual routine, eventually thwarting Xi Jinping's intentions. This has pushed the internal struggle within the CCP to a new climax.
Before the plenary session started and after this resolution was basically finalised, signs of infighting began to show. Because Zhang Gaoli, the only strong and healthy man from Jiang Zemin's faction, was the most powerful man who opposed the anti-Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin's line, his long-term mistress complained about him on social media. Originally a very private dispute that a court could have resolved, it became political when the media got wind of it.
As international organisations and news media began to focus on the case, it turned into a major international scandal that humiliated the CCP and China, with possible repercussions for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. It could be said that Xi Jinping lifted a rock and yet hit his foot. Unsure how to respond, he hesitated between advancing or retreating.
With the dust from the Peng Shuai vs Zhang Gaoli affair not yet settled, Xi Jinping himself has become fodder for the rumour mill over an alleged illegitimate child. Something similar happened to current Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan who had to resign as head of the CCP’s anti-corruption body over allegation of having fathered an illegitimate child and involvement in a trillion-dollar corruption case.
Will this wave of hype lead to the resignation of CCP Secretary General Xi? It is hard to say. Nevertheless, it appears that the current atmosphere is very unfavourable to Xi.
The reason behind Wang Qishan's resignation in 2017 was that he sought to take over the leadership by relying on anti-corruption to build up his prestige and realise Zhu Rongji's unfulfilled ideals. A combination of domestic and foreign factors had the best of Wang who was relegated to the post of vice president, an essentially ceremonial post without power.
This time, the atmosphere President Xi is facing is even worse. He ran afoul of many top CCP leaders, in government, military, academia, and business circles, without offering ordinary Chinese anything good.
Xi tried to belittle Deng and Jiang's reforms, touting instead Mao Zedong's dictatorship. Obviously, it is difficult for the Communist Party and the country to accept this. Therefore, in the fierce struggle ahead of the sixth plenary session, the anti-Xi faction was expected to win.
Since Xi wants to revive the traditional imperial system, logically he has to accept Deng Xiaoping's so-called Chinese model, which is the traditional model of autocratic rule running a market economy. However, the CCP's one-party rule is a model for serfdom, and it cannot be combined with a more advanced traditional model.
Without the legitimacy provided by the Confucian legacy and ideology, Deng’s model has not gained any legitimacy, except widespread corruption. Hence, the paradox. How can this inherent contradiction be solved? Scholars and experts have no answer.
Xi thought that the path of Mao’s extreme autocracy and personal dictatorship conformed to Chinese characteristics and that ordinary people would obey. Unfortunately, today’s Chinese are not the obedient people of the pre-Qing period, and current elites are not followers of Neo-Confucianism (Song and Ming Dynasties). Thus, let's all sit down, enjoy the gossip and watch the show.