On November 11, the influential sixth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) adopted a resolution on significant achievements and experiences of the party during its 100-year history. It extolled the contributions of party leader President Xi Jinping.
The CCP now seems certain to grant Xi an unusual third term as general secretary when the Party Congress meets at an as yet unannounced date toward the end of 2022.
With the hardline Xi regime set to remain in power, the international community needs to be more concerned and more vigilant about China.
The CCP had only adopted two historical resolutions previously in its 100-year history, in both cases under the forceful direction of a major leader. The first was in 1945 at the time that Communist China was being established under Mao Zedong. The second was in 1981 when Deng Xiaoping launched his program for reform and opening up to the outside world.
Many Chinese feel the adoption of a historical resolution at this time — at the behest of Xi — feels odd since Xi’s list of accomplishments is decidedly thin as compared to Mao and Deng.
The historical resolution drafted under Deng was especially significant since it rendered a damning verdict on the Cultural Revolution launched by Mao. Furthermore, having personally witnessed the risks of Mao’s one-man dictatorship at that time, Deng instituted a collective leadership system.
Nevertheless, the current historical resolution does not seek to rectify policy errors committed by the CCP. Its only objectives are to exalt the authority of Xi and stifle any opposition to his long-term rule.
It is an historical resolution by and for Xi himself. His end game is none other than to make possible the revival of a personality cult that Deng did away with.
What exactly has Xi achieved since he became general secretary of the CCP in 2012?
He has sought to crush the human rights of the Uyghurs and other minorities.
He has destroyed the “one nation, two systems” framework for self-rule in Hong Kong.
In foreign relations it has all been downhill, with intrusions of Chinese government vessels into the waters near the Senkaku Islands of Ishigaki City in Okinawa Prefecture becoming normalized, and the Chinese military establishing installations in the South China Sea and increasing pressure on Taiwan.
Yet, in its official communiqué, the Sixth Plenum gushed over Xi’s supposed achievements with florid language such as the following: “This has helped ensure that the Party and the country thrive and enjoy lasting stability.” We have seen a “marked increase in China’s international influence, appeal, and power to shape.” And “China’s great-country diplomacy has advanced on all fronts.”
What this amounts to is legitimization of Xi’s strongman rule and “wolf warrior diplomacy” designed to intimidate other parties.
Recently appointed Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi has resigned as chairman of the non-partisan Japan-China Friendship Parliamentarians’ Union and has said that he has a duty to tell China what it needs to be told to ensure responsible behavior on its part.
That is as it should be. Now the new Cabinet of Fumio Kishida must work closely with the United States so that Japan will act as a key link in a defensive network to contain Chinese expansionism.
We can’t wait until the time the CCP adopts a fourth historical resolution rectifying the errors of the Xi era.
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(Read the Sankei Shimbun editorial in Japanese at this link.)
Author: Editorial Board, The Sankei Shimbun