Chinese Communist Party to incorporate prez Xi’s thoughts in constitution

If the amendment is put in place, then it would be the latest sign of President Xi’s rapid rise in the 1.4 billion country as one of the strongest Chinese leaders in decades. 

world Updated: Oct 16, 2017 11:24 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
Chinese President Xi Jinping,Chinese communist party,CPC constitution
Chinese President Xi Jinping. (AFP File)

President Xi Jinping’s political thoughts are likely to be embedded in the constitution of Communist Party of China when top members of the party gather at a key meeting in Beijing later this week.

The 19th National Congress of the CPC, which will begin on October 18, will likely announce an amendment to the party charter to include Xi’s thoughts.

The five-yearly event will be attended by total of 2,287 delegates from across China.

It was decided that three documents will be submitted to the upcoming congress for examination and deliberation, a communique released by the CPC at the conclusion of a meeting in the run-up to the party congress said over the weekend.

“A report to be made by the 18th CPC Central Committee to the 19th CPC National Congress, a work report of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) to the congress, as well as an amendment to the CPC Constitution were discussed and approved,” the communique added.

“The amended constitution must fully represent the latest sinicisation of Marxism, new governance concepts, thoughts and strategies of the CPC Central Committee since the 18th CPC National Congress, as well as new experience in adhering to and strengthening party leadership and in strict party governance,” an earlier CPC statement had said.

It’s not clear what exact words could be used to include Xi’s thoughts in the charter; the specific amendment to the party constitution will only be revealed at the end of the congress.

But if the amendment is put in place, then it would be the latest sign of President Xi’s rapid rise in the country of 1.4 billion as one of the strongest Chinese leaders in decades. He took over as CPC chief in 2012.

So far, the CPC charter only has “Mao Zedong’s Thoughts” and “Deng Xiaoping’s Theory” included in it by their names.

Beijing, meanwhile, has been put under several layers of security for the meeting with thousands of security personnel being deployed across the city of 21 million people.

As the 19th Congress approaches on October 18, its shadow over the internet and news media has grown darker, and security in Beijing and across the country is ramped up.

“This congress is especially sensitive: In addition to changes to the CPC constitution, its decisions may signal Xi Jinping’s intent to stay on as general secretary beyond the customary 10-year stint,” Sarah Cook from advocacy group Freedom House told HT.

“Thousands of police officers have arrived in Beijing to reinforce security, with many of them dispatched to patrol government buildings and check IDs in the subway in order to deal swiftly with petitioners,” she said.

“Reposts of a Xinhua news brief stating that the CPC constitution will be amended at the 19th party congress were scrubbed from social media in an apparent attempt to limit online commentary and speculation about potential changes to the document,” Cook added.

“The censorship apparatus is hard at work suppressing leaks and “rumours” about the party leadership, including a torrent of claims being posted online by Guo Wengui, the Chinese tycoon who has sought asylum in the United States,” she added.

First Published: Oct 15, 2017 17:00 IST