The ruling Communist Party of China only has the power of two leaders to rewrite the history of this country. On Thursday, Xi Jinping became third.
His view of Chinese history is simple: the party is great, glorious, and always correct. As long as the people follow the party, China will inevitably move towards greatness. It is now standing on the cusp of greatness, and a leader will soon make this greatness a reality: him.
This is the content of the resolution on “Major achievements and historical experience of the party’s centennial struggle” passed by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in Beijing on Thursday.
The communiqué stated that the Communist Party has “traveled 100 years of glorious history” And “composed the most magnificent epic in the history of the Chinese nation for thousands of years.” But crucially, the declaration is also about the future: it laid the groundwork for Xi Jinping to assume the unprecedented third presidential position, highlighting a political hegemony that China has never seen in at least a generation.
The communiqué stated: “The party’s establishment of Comrade Xi Jinping as the core of the party and the status of the party center embodies the common aspirations of the entire party, the entire army, the country, and the people of all ethnic groups.” The historical process of the great revival is of decisive significance.”
There are only two former Communist Party leaders, Mao Zedong and the founder of the revolution Deng Xiaoping Previously, historic resolutions were issued in 1945 and 1981. Both of these resolutions consolidated the power of one person, who led the country through decades of transformation.
Analysts say the same is true for Xi Jinping’s resolution. This highlights his frequent announcements that China has entered a “new era” of revival under his rule.Despite the economic slowdown and The tension with the United States is increasing, This is a statement of confidence and party unity issued before the 20th Party Congress next year, when Xi Jinping is expected to receive his third term.
Rana Mitte said: “All of these are what we call ideological Sherpa work to prepare for a major announcement that will consolidate Xi Jinping’s position as the supreme leader… and consolidate the party’s historical destiny. Driving Tools,” Director of the China Center at Oxford University.
According to a version published in the official media on Thursday, the resolution assumes a century of sustained success.Compared with the previous resolution that acknowledged the party’s mistakes while affirming the correct leadership as a whole, this resolution Only focus on the party’s victory.
In the Mao era, tens of millions of people died of hunger and violence. The communiqué praised the party for leading the people in carrying out “the most extensive and profound social change in Chinese history” and making a “Great Leap Forward” towards socialism.
“The Chinese are not only good at destroying the old world, but also at building a new world. Only socialism can save China, and only socialism can develop China,” it said, but did not mention the famine caused by the Collectivization Movement of the Great Leap Forward, nor did it mention it. The atrocities of the Cultural Revolution.
Anyone who has listened to President Xi’s previous historical speeches, read the new version of party history published this spring, or read banners, slogans, and museum exhibits about “learning party history and party history” will not be surprised by such rhetoric. . Always follow the party“This year, it has been exhibited in various cities in China.
Nonetheless, this is a significant difference from Deng Xiaoping’s 1981 resolution, which acted cautiously between affirming the ultimate correctness of the Communist Party’s leadership and rejecting the mistakes that ravaged the country during the Mao era.
Jeff Wasserstrom, a professor of Chinese history at the University of California, Irvine, said: “The point in 1981 was to try to make it clear why the party is now on the right track, even if it made major mistakes.” “This is more important,’Let’s pay attention to how China is performing now.’ … It uses history in a celebratory tone.”
Wasserstrom said this framework also reduces the party’s story to one of “clear heroes and clear villains.” As for the latter, “they are not found in the party. They can be found among foreign powers who bullied China during the century of national humiliation, and Japan and Americans during the Korean War.”
The party has Use history to propagate nationalist narratives In recent years, especially when tensions between China and many countries in areas such as trade, technology, human rights, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet, and the South China Sea have escalated, they have united against the enemy.
As many foreign forces react to China’s military buildup and aggression against ethnic minorities, neighboring countries, and border areas, the CCP has created a statement that the world opposes China at home. Out of envy of China’s growing power, To “contain” it.
This is also mentioned in the resolution, which states that “major changes in the world that have not been seen in a century”-a euphemism for the decline of the United States-are intertwined with the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a “more complex and severe external environment.” . The communiqué stated that domestic economic tasks and coronavirus control are also “extremely arduous.”
The party’s answer to these challenges is Eliminate all objections And discuss past or present weaknesses or mistakes, and strengthen the propaganda and personality cult around Xi Jinping. His books filled the front shelves of every bookstore. A poster with his face hung in the village house. His slogans are hung in every town and city.
A sort of contour The official Xinhua News Agency’s “Chairman Xi” published this week praised him as “a man with determination and action, a man with deep thoughts and feelings, a man who inherits tradition but dares to innovate, and a visionary. He is tirelessly committed. Work hard.”
Many observers, including some in China, cringe at this promotion of a single leader. This is exactly what Deng Xiaoping noticed the riots and violence of the recently concluded Cultural Revolution and tried to stop it by imposing a 10-year term limit on Chinese leaders in the 1980s.
“There is no doubt that Xi Jinping is abolishing many of the basic principles that Deng Xiaoping is trying to enshrine in the leadership system,” said Orville Schell, director of the Asia Society’s Center for U.S.-China Relations.
“He is basically saying that the Deng Xiaoping stage is over. We are eager for reforms, we are willing to accept foreigners, and we are more inclined to a cooperative world attitude-all of this is over. China is strong enough that it can act like a big country in the past. It can bully other countries and Regardless of its weight, This is either our way or the highway,” Schell said. “This is a new era. “
But the new resolution did not directly deny Deng Xiaoping. It praised his economic reforms while ignoring his criticism of Mao. It ignores all the nasty contradictory historical details to convey a new message: all stages of party leadership are correct and necessary because they are led by the party and are now at their peak in today’s glorious era.
“For the Politburo, history is not academic investigation. This is another form of political language,” said Mitte of Oxford University.
There have been several times in the party’s history—especially in the early 1980s—where its leaders were willing to admit and examine past mistakes, even if only to find a way forward for the country.
No longer. “Xi Jinping and the entire party believe that publicly debating different historical viewpoints is ideologically uncomfortable for them,” Mitte said. “At present, it is more politically useful to propose a view of history that is almost completely uncritical.”
The communique finally announced that the 20th Party Congress will be held in Beijing at the end of next year. This will be “an extremely important party congress, a major event in the political life of the party and the country,” it said, but did not specify the reason-it seems there is still room for surprise.