BOFIT Viikkokatsaus / BOFIT Weekly Review 2021/46

The 6th plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) met last week in Beijing. A total of 348 committee members and alternate members were present. The session was devoted on deciding on resolution which contains a retrospective of party historical experience and major CPC achievements. The achievements of current leader Xi Jinping were elevated to the same high status as those of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. The final resolution stated that, among other things, Xi has succeeded in resolving tough long-standing issues where others have failed. The achievements of Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao received scarce mention. While outright failures of the CPC and its leaders were not mentioned, the CPC’s overcoming of hardships was a repeated theme.

Similar resolutions have only been adopted twice in the CPC’s history. In 1945, Mao cemented his place in leadership as China’s civil war raged on after the war with Japan. In a similar fashion, Deng used historical analysis to boost his own position in 1981 and push through major economic and social reforms. The new resolution claims it was necessary to review party history because the country has embarked on a new journey to build a modern socialist state in all respects and because political unity is essential. The need to increase fighting strength and prepare for possible future challenges were also seen. From a practical standpoint, the resolution is seen as bolstering of Xi Jinping’s position as party leader and paving the way for his continued leadership of the party and country, a role to be formalised at the party congress in autumn 2022.

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