Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to push through an historical resolution at a key Communist Party gathering next week, cementing his authority and legacy and strengthening his position.
A resolution on the “important achievements and historical experiences of the party’s 100 years of struggle” will be discussed and will be ratified by the ruling Communist Party’s 300-plus member Central Committee when it meets Nov 8-11 for the sixth and penultimate plenum of its five-year term.
The so-called “historical resolution”, the text of which has not been released, will be only the third, with the previous two put forth during the tenures of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.
While Mao and Deng used such resolutions for the party to reflect on past missteps and criticise members who had taken the wrong path, analysts expect this one to build consensus that his is the right path forward for the party and the country.
Xi has established himself as the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao, and is widely expected to be confirmed for a third five-year term next fall when the Central Committee convenes for the 20th Party Congress and elects a new leadership team.
As a prelude to the resolution, the party issued a document in August detailing the party’s “historical missions and contributions” in the century since its founding, heavily focused on the governance practices of Xi’s tenure.
The first “historical resolution” was passed in 1945 – four years before the People’s Republic’s founding – and was used by Mao to stage for himself as paramount leader.
The second, in 1981 under Deng, closed the chapter on the turbulent Cultural Revolution, made capitalism ideologically acceptable, and laid the groundwork for “reform and opening up”.
Since then, China has been transformed, becoming far more globally integrated and assertive, wealthier.
The party’s governance style has also shifted.
Deng and his next two successors believed the party must give the government, economy and society space to grow organically. Xi famously said in 2017: “east, west, south, north, centre – the party leads all”.
“While every leader from Mao has always upheld the one-party rule, their notions of how best to govern had been very different,” .
“Although the upcoming resolution is in name about the success of the party over the past 100 years, it will ultimately conclude that the current way, Xi’s way, is the right way”