politics

China’s Xi flexes power with plan to rewrite Communist Party history

China’s Xi flexes power with plan to rewrite Communist Party history

Chinese leader Xi Jinping is preparing to officially stamp his personal imprint on the Communist Party’s historical record, a sign of his strengthening grip on power in the face of simmering uncertainties over the country’s economy and tensions with Western powers.At a closed-door conclave in Beijing next month, Mr. Xi and other senior officials will review a draft resolution that lays out an authoritative accounting of the party’s “major achievements and historical experiences since its founding 100 years ago, state media said, citing a decision reached Monday by the party’s 25-member Politburo.The resolution would be the third such document enacted by the party, putting Mr. Xi on a par with Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping as leaders who commanded the preponderant authority needed to formally reinterpret modern Chinese history.The resolution’s passage at the conclave, scheduled for Nov. 8-11, would project a sense of unity around Mr. Xi’s leadership as he prepares for a twice-a-decade party congress next year, where he is expected to secure a third term as party leader, defying the two-term precedent set by his predecessor.Discussing the planned resolution at a Monday meeting, the Politburo heaped fulsome praise on Mr. Xi, saying his administration has steered China onto a new “historical course of inexorable progress toward national greatness.Historians say Mao and Deng’s resolutions on history, adopted in 1945 and 1981 respectively, were aimed at consolidating control over the party, by excoriating dissenting views and enshrining their own ideological perspectives as party canon. Deng’s document, for instance, condemned Mao’s 1966-76 Cultural Revolution as a disastrous error, paving the way for market-opening reforms that would propel China’s economic miracle.“The past two resolutions were highly critical in nature. This time, it would mainly be about self-affirmation, said a retired politics professor in Beijing. The likely goals, he said, are to “strengthen the party’s image, buttress the current leader’s image, and reinforce the current leader’s will.The resolution’s passage, which observers say is a formality, would signify Mr. Xi’s strong hold over the party even as China struggles to shore up an economy buffeted by power shortfalls, supply-chain disruptions and Beijing’s crackdown on the technology, private education and real-estate sectors. China reported on Monday slower-than-expected growth in the third quarter, when its gross domestic product grew by 4.9% from a year earlier, compared with a 7.9% on-year expansion in the preceding three months.While facing economic challenges, Mr. Xi has ramped up efforts to forge what he calls a “correct outlook on history at home, aimed at tamping down introspection about the party’s past mistakes. Instead, he has sought to portray the party as an unstoppable force that has endured war and chaos to steer China’s rise.Mr. Xi, a son of a revolutionary hero, has stressed the importance of controlling narratives about the party’s past. He has insisted that China’s successes over recent decades can’t be divorced from its struggles under the leadership of Mao, whose political tactics have been revived by Mr. Xi to quash dissent and assert greater control over society.As part of a national campaign to celebrate the party’s 100th anniversary this year, authorities revised historical texts to play down Mao’s despotic missteps during the Cultural Revolution, while removing some famous Deng quotations that warned against the dangers of one-man rule and advocated humble diplomacy.Mr. Xi again invoked history earlier this month to reiterate Beijing’s resolve to gain control over the self-ruled democracy of Taiwan, which China’s last imperial dynasty, the Qing, had controlled before ceding the island to Japan in 1895.In a speech marking the 110th anniversary of the 1911 Xinhai Revolution that toppled the Qing government, Mr. Xi declared that people who opposed the unification of China and Taiwan will be “condemned by history.Download.

politics 2021-10-19 Livemint