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Xi among Chinese Communist Party’s era-defining leaders

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Chinese President Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping

CHINA: China’s Communist Party delivered Xi Jinping a breakthrough on Thursday that will help secure his political future — by rewriting history.

Senior party officials in a closed-door meeting in Beijing approved a decision reassessing the party’s 100-year history and enshrining Xi in the party’s official firmament of era-defining leaders.

The move, signalled in an official summary of the meeting, elevated Xi to a stature alongside Mao Zedong, the founder of the country’s communist rule, and Deng Xiaoping, the chief architect of its economic takeoff.

Under Xi’s leadership, China has “made historic achievements and undergone a historic transformation”, said an official summary, or communiqué, from the meeting, hailing what the party described as successes in the economy, foreign policy, fighting pollution and containing COVID.

Under Mao, Deng and now Xi, the communiqué said, China had “achieved the tremendous transformation from standing up and growing prosperous to becoming strong”.

This week’s meeting was the start of a momentous year in Chinese politics. Its announcements will play a big part in the leadership shake-up at a Communist Party congress that is likely to be held in 2022, when Xi, China’s most powerful leader in decades, appears on track to secure a third five-year term as the party’s general secretary. There is no rival leader or heir apparent in view.

The decision to place Xi among the country’s historical giants will bolster his argument that he is the only leader capable of steering China towards superpower status through uncertain times. China navigated the Covid-19 pandemic relatively well, but it faces economic risks from debt-laden companies and local governments, social pressures as its population gets older, and growing distrust from the US and other western countries.

On Thursday, in a recorded video to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Xi urged Asian nations to resist forming “small circles on geopolitical grounds”, a clear reference to efforts by President Joe Biden to shore up alliances of democratically minded countries to counter China.

“The Asia-Pacific region cannot and should not relapse into the antagonism and division of the Cold War era,” he said.


Saturday, November 13, 2021 – 01:00

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