Xi set to Surpass Mao’s Legacy
The much awaited 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing came to a conclusion yesterday after a week-long deliberation that started on October 18th. The aspects of the ever important twice- a decade conference of the ruling Communist Party has been determiner of Party policy for the next five years to come. However, the international community has been keenly observing the tenets of this particular conference with scrutiny, due to the the ongoing power struggle between two apparent divisions in the ruling Communist Party. Xi came to power in 2012, and has subsequently implemented a crackdown on high ranking officials, deemed to be a threat to the concentration of Xi’s power as the core leader. Xi’s opponents have been persecuted under the guise of a stern anti-graft and corruption campaign. There may be different scholarly thoughts on the interpretation 19th congress, however, all agree that the course of the conference held this year differed much from its predecessors in view of the core emphasis of the conference as set through president Xi’s speech and his careful selection of words as key speaker during the opening ceremony. In his opening address to the 18th Congress of the CPC in 2012, the former president Hu Jintao emphasised Marxism-Leninism, Mao’s Thought, Deng’s Theory, Jiang’s Theory of Three Represents and scientific outlook of development as the theme of his report, however, Xi Jinping hardly mentioned any of the guiding principles of the previous congress, referring to them only twice in his lengthy opening speech of 210 minutes. This can be viewed as an attempt to purport himself on par with the prominent former leaders and their legacy, if not surpass them. In a sign of Xi’s growing clout, The Communist Party of China enshrined President Xi Jinping’s political thought into its constitution.
The amendment approved at the 19th CPC National Congress added Xi Jinping Thought: Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as state ideology putting it together with Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development, putting Xi on par with Deng and Mao Zedong. Xi’s thought being enshrined among the party’s constitution came earlier in his career than any of his predecessors, only five years into his term at the helm, in an unprecedented move to rubber stamp the authority of president Xi Jinping over the Communist Party. Already the CPC’s most dominant leader in decades, Xi is expected to further consolidate power. According to some schools of thought, Xi would be likely to reach, if not surpass, the legacy of Mao Zedong if he was to be conferred the title of ‘Party Chairman of the CPC’ in coming days, which would raise him to a position of total authority.
The general theme of the lengthy work report delivered by the general secretary outlined China’s political direction in all major fields. The party vowed to not just mechanically follow Western concepts of democracy but follow its own style of socialism to suits its own needs, asserting it could be a model for the rest of the world to follow. Xi urged the Party to lead and serve public aspirations. He boasted of China’s re-emergence as a global super power, vowing to defend the unity of the country from any foreign element or organisation aimed at splitting the motherland. He envisions to transform the country’s military into a highly modernised world class global power that can win any armed conflict when needed.
At home, the core leader outlined certain targets, formulating the concept of creating “a moderately prosperous society” by implementing policies aimed at wiping out poverty and closing the gap caused by unequal wealth distribution. He reaffirmed the party’s founding purpose of serving for the welfare of the people in every aspect: health care, education, employment and housing, further asserting that the success of the Party can be measured by the prosperity of the public. As part of the overall theme of the realization of “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”—also known as the “Chinese Dream”, Xi Jinping pledged to tackle environmental issues and build a beautiful China with a clean environment, in order which China must “develop a new model of modernization, with humans developing in harmony with nature” he added. He also asserted that China needs more academic professionals to fuel such an aspiration. He guided the Party to follow the principle of ‘Let a hundred flowers bloom and hundreds of schools of thought contend’, reverberating the famous expression by Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong, intended to promote the flourishing of the arts and the progress of science.