The Chinese Communist Party has met in the most important meeting of the last five years. In this conclave, Xi Jinping and the Central Committee have consolidated their position at the head of the 95 million members that make up the largest political party in the world. They have corrected the decisions taken during the last year, and have laid the foundations for what will be the next national congress, where a new leadership will be elected, although possibly not a different general secretary.
This week saw the Sixth Plenary Session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, elected during the 19th National Congress of the CCP in 2017. The sixth session is considered the most important because national congresses are every five years, and the sixth session is the one that serves as a review of all that has been achieved so far, and the one that sets the course for the next national congress. In this case, the 20th CPC National Congress, which has been announced to take place during the second half of 2022.
This VI plenary session, however, has marked a before and after, perhaps because it is the one that has coincided with the year of the centenary of the Communist Party of China, and the historical rhetoric has had special relevance.
In this plenary session, led by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee, and therefore by Xi Jinping as general secretary, and composed of 197 full members and 151 alternate members, the centennial history of Chinese communism, organized in the party, was discussed, as well as the need to continue advancing in the thought of Xi Jinping.
If we do some fact-checking, we see media headlines pointing out that Xi Jinping has managed to perpetuate himself thanks to this plenary session. It is not true because it was in 2018 when term limits were eliminated through constitutional reform. And it was also not in this plenary session that the thinking of the general secretary has come to be valued as Mao or Deng. It was in 2017 when Xi Jinping’s thought, and his name, were included in the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party during the 19th National Congress by the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, known as Xi Jinping Thought, has been consolidated as a further contribution to communist ideology. Adding to the ideological contributions of the presidents: Mao Zedong, who consolidated socialism with Chinese characteristics; Deng Xiaoping, and his process of reform and opening up; Jiang Zemin, and the theory of triple representativeness; Hu Jintao, and his scientific conception of development; and now Xi Jinping and his ideological notes are added.
During the session, emphasis was also placed on continuing to move forward to consolidate the leadership of the Communist Party of China as a mechanism for improving the living conditions of the people, as well as to strengthen the ties between the people and the Party. Through a historical review of its origins, it was argued that the path of independence of the Chinese people has always been guaranteed by the party, and therefore, to strengthen the party is to strengthen the people.
Even so, the sixth plenary session emphasized the need to recover and recall the need to continue to deepen the “four integrities”, which are: building a moderately prosperous society, deepening economic reform, governing in accordance with the law, and comprehensively and strictly governing the Communist Party of China.
The idea of re-uniting the Party with the State continues to receive support. Thus that old Maoist precept has been recalled: if the Communist Party of China separates itself from the masses it will not be fulfilling its duty. And therefore it must firmly follow that famous maxim of Premier Zhou Enlai written on his lapel: “Serve the people”. In this case, the party shows the social and ethnic plurality of the country by pointing out that it has to serve all ethnic groups and lead them at the same time to overcome adversities.
The Party Central Committee also addressed the People’s Liberation Forces, China’s armed forces, recalling that it is the CCP that has promoted the modernization of national defense, the Army, and that it must follow the Party’s revolutionary principles, citing that its function is to promote a comfortable life for the people and the prosperity of China.
Thus, we can affirm that this Sixth Plenary Session of the Central Committee has served to consolidate the role of the party in society, as well as to increase its role in the State, even sharing the same disciplinary bodies as a result of the latest legislative reform to combat corruption and bribery.
On the role of the People’s Liberation Forces, they follow and will follow above all the directives of the CPC, as established by Mao Zedong in 1949 when the People’s Republic was proclaimed. As already before during the Long March, in its recovery of the values and principles of the pre-1949 Communist Party, in what Xi called the recovery of the spirit of Yan’an, mass culture has been emphasized.
Looking ahead to what will be the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in the second half of 2022, we can expect several things that have been coming out of this Sixth Session of the Central Committee:
The Party’s vision of ecology and growth embodied in the so-called “spirit of Saihanba Forest,” the consolidation of the Party’s fundamental Marxist-Leninist principles, and its mass culture, which Xi laid out in the “spirit of Yan’an.”
As well as firmly overcoming adversities and consolidating the party’s role in them, with the “spirit of the new Long March”, also created by Xi Jinping. Unlike his predecessors, Xi Jinping’s thinking is not linked to daily technical management, but his main idea is to establish a new China in the future.
2049 will be the important new date. It is when the new China will have to be born, one hundred years after the proclamation of the People’s Republic at Tiananmen. It is twenty-eight years from now that Xi Jinping’s eyes are set, and also those of the Communist Party of China.
And it is from today, the day after the end of the Sixth Plenary Session of the Central Committee, until one year from now, when the 20th National Congress of the CCP will be held, that we will have to observe all the debates that arise, for they will be the ones that will be discussed then, and will mark Chinese policy for the next five years.