The Chinese Communist Party’s ambitious agenda
- M V Rappai, Honorary Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi
It may be a mere coincidence that the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) delegation at the United Nation’s Climate Summit in Glasgow, agreed to work more closely with the delegation from the United States (US), the two largest polluters of the world during the climate talks on November 11, November 2021. On the same day China’s online technology companies reported a huge business turnover in the domestic market for ‘singles day’ sales. The same afternoon, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee (CC) concluded its 6th Plenary session in Beijing, elevating Xi Jinping as the ‘core’ leader of the Party, which is likely to assure an extension of his term in next year’s Party Congress. These may be unrelated events but it reveals mainland China’s renewed determination to deal with the world in its own terms.
This session passed the key “Resolution on the Major Achievements and Historical Experience of the Party over the Past Century”, this resolution also decided to hold the 20th National Congress of the CCP in the second half of next year. The resolution summed up the achievements of the Party in its existence in last 100 years and set forth the future agenda of the Party and nation at large.
The session was held in closed doors. Only a detailed 5,000 words in English communique has been officially made available to the public. The text has briefly summed up the historic achievements of the Party in the past century. This is the third resolution assessing the historical accomplishments of the Party in last 100 years of its existence, since the Party was established in1921. The first such document was passed by the Party in 1945 under the leadership of Chairman Mao. It repudiated the legacy of Soviet influence on the CCP and focused on the Mao Zedong thought.
In 1981the Communist Party under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping passed the second historical resolution. After assessing the mistakes committed by the Party under its most powerful leader Mao in the late fifties and during the Cultural Revolution, 1966 to 1976, the Party came to a conclusion that chairman Mao was 70% correct and 30% wrong. This time around the resolution is not making any such judgement, it only passingly mentions the two key general secretaries of the Party, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, who held the senior position in the interim.
According to the communique one of the key issue is elevating the stature of Xi Jinping as the ‘core’ leader of the Party. Earlier the word ‘core’ was used only in the cases of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. The two most important leaders of China. Mao brought about the liberation and helped the Chinese nation to stand on its own feet. Deng virtually opened the path for China’s reform and economic revitalization. With his reform and opening up policy China has grown to become the second most important economic power in the world after the US. China produces almost 25% of all industrial goods of the world. It controls some of key supply chains for consumer and electronic goods.
Towards the end of the communique it makes the purpose of the current session more clear, “the central committee calls upon the entire Party, the military, and all Chinese people to rally more closely around the central committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core…….make tireless efforts to realize the second centenary goal and the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation”. The ‘Chinese Dream’ proposed by Xi Jinping intends to make China prosperous and strong, rejuvenate the nation and see that the people are happy.
During the last 100 years of the existence of Party, Chinese society has undergone many a drastic change. In the early stages a substantial chunk of the Party cadres was drawn from peasants and workers. Currently, the number of peasants has vastly reduced. The character and structure of cadres consisting largely of urban middle class have changed drastically. A number of Chinese now work in privately-owned business conglomerates, yet the Party’s grip is still very strong. Therefore, understanding the undercurrents of Chinese society is not very easy. Yet as long as the Party can assure the economic wellbeing of the vast masses and assure the comparative economic growth momentum, the Party’s support base will hold. President Xi Jinping understands this reality and they are working towards ensuring growth momentum.
Another aspect is the changing role of the security forces in China. As per reports, this session was attended by a total of 197 members and 151 alternative members of the Central Committee, which means 348 members out of its total strength of 376 members. Out of this, nearly 18 to 20% of the members of the Central Committee are elected by the People’s Liberation Army and another 6 to 8% represent various central and provincial security forces. As a single bloc the PLA holds a good number of votes in the Central committee. It forms one of the largest pressure groups in the Party. In short, it can be safely argued that Xi has secured the support of the security establishment of China.
This reality must be understood from the large-scale use of modern technology by the Chinese society. Country is almost entirely covered by hand held mobile sets and computer coverage supported by a widespread wi-fi network. Meanwhile this enables the state to monitor the society on a real-time basis. This have its own implications for the future.
From India’s standpoint, it is important to study and understand the developments in Party and the Chinese society at large.
The views expressed are personal*
(M V Rappai, Honorary Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi)