Beijing’s New Resolution Doesn’t Bode Well for China

November 25, 2021 Updated: November 29, 2021

Commentary

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) recently approved a “historical resolution” that firmly established the unchallenged position of its leader, Xi Jinping. The lengthy resolution, the third in the Party’s 100-year history, paves the ideological ground for Xi to seek a third and, perhaps, life term. It also laid out Xi’s view for the future in his so-called 10 principles that must be strictly followed.

The first and foremost principle is to uphold the CCP’s power. The resolution stresses that the Party’s leadership is “comprehensive and holistic.” Every state institution, government department, judicial and procuratorial organ, armed force, state and private enterprise, social and cultural group, grassroots organization, and so forth have to come under the leadership of the CCP.

This is reminiscent of the words of Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic of China (PRC): “Workers, peasants, students, businessmen, soldiers; east, west, south, north, and central—the Party leads all.”

Xi’s resolution also stresses that “the leadership by the Party Central is the highest principle” and that “the practice of reporting to the Party Central must be enforced.” In the CCP’s vocabulary, “Party Central,” when used in this context, refers to Xi.

The second principle is the need to strengthen the bond between the Party and the people. The resolution emphasizes that “any attempt to separate the CCP from the Chinese people, or to incite them to oppose each other will never succeed.” This is an obvious rebuttal to former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s assertion that the CCP doesn’t represent the Chinese people—Beijing views this statement as an attempt to drive a wedge between the CCP and the people of China.

The third principle is on innovative Marxism. The resolution states that “the great social changes in contemporary China are not … a template simply [modeled] on the ideas of classic Marxist writers, nor a reprint of socialist practice in other countries.” The resolution states that Xi’s Thought was extolled as “Marxism of the 21st century” and a “flawless combination of Marxism and the Chinese grandiose culture.” Thus, insistence on theoretical innovation must mean insistence on Xi’s Thought, because it’s considered to be an innovative form of Marxism.

The fourth principle deals with self-reliance and independence.

“We must insist that China’s affairs must be decided and handled by the Chinese people,” the resolution reads.

At a time when the CCP faces serious diplomatic rows with the West, Beijing won’t yield to foreign pressures.

The fifth principle is adherence to the Chinese Road (or the China Model). This is a reiteration of Xi’s so-called four matters of confidence: confidence in the theory, path, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

The sixth principle is “having the world at heart.” This refers to Xi’s formulation of the future world order enshrined in his political slogan of “common destiny of mankind.”

The seventh principle is on innovation and pioneering exploration, which is meant to break the foreign embargo of high-tech export to China.

The eighth principle is “the spirit of daring to fight.” The resolution calls on every Party member to be ready for “pro-active combat, to carry forward the spirit of struggle, and enhance their ability to fight.”

It’s well-known that Xi gives a lot of emphasis to “struggle.” In a speech on Sept. 3, 2019, at the Party Central School (an institution that educates China’s political elite), he mentioned the word “struggle” 58 times. In a similar occasion on March 1, he mentioned the same word 14 times.

From these two speeches, it’s clear that Xi wasn’t referring to struggle in the military sense, but in the ideological realm. By insisting on ideological struggle, Xi deviated from the policy of Deng Xiaoping, the architect of China’s reform and open-door policy. Deng paid no attention to empty ideological debates on whether a certain policy was capitalistic or socialistic in nature. His famous Cat Theory—“black cat or white cat, if it can catch mice, it’s a good cat”—pushed aside ideological squabbles. This de-emphasis of ideological dogma enabled people to think out loud and try new ways of doing things, which vastly contributed to the country’s progress.

The resolution calls on every Party organization to firmly establish Marxism at the core of the system and states that they must guard the ideological battleground in a responsible and effective manner. Besides, they must be “dared to struggle” and to fight against all kinds of erroneous views. By insisting on struggle, Xi has brought back the divisive, empty ideological feuds that marked Mao’s time.

The ninth principle is on the United Front strategy, which the resolution claims is the CCP’s “important magic weapon” to win over the enemy. Indeed, Mao had long stated that the CCP owed its rise to the United Front policy, which was a sure-win strategy.

The resolution stresses that “to achieve the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” this strategy will be applied to different fronts: party, government, ethnic and religious groups, class relations, and overseas Chinese communities. Chinese people living abroad will be co-opted to help realize Xi’s China Dream through the United Front strategy.

The last principle is on permanent revolution, which is reminiscent of the “continuous revolution theory” of Mao. He justified launching the disastrous Cultural Revolution with the ultra-leftist theory of “permanent” or “uninterrupted” revolution.

Of these 10 principles, half of them imply a return to Mao’s era, such as the overarching position of the Party, emphasis on Marxism, ideological struggles, ceaseless revolution, and self-reliance and independence.

Moreover, Deng’s reform and open-door policy weren’t mentioned in the principles. Since 1979, Deng put economic development as the core task of the CCP, and to achieve this, the country adhered to that reform and open-door policy. He even warned cadres in his 1992 Shenzhen tour that “whoever doesn’t want reform and open-door policy has to step down.”

Thus, the omission of this policy signifies a departure from Deng.

The third “historical resolution” doesn’t bode well for China, since it leans toward Mao-era policies. Communist China owed its rapid economic growth to Deng, while Mao brought disaster and economic poverty through his Cultural Revolution—this is the path that Xi is laying out for the Chinese people.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Ching Cheong
Ching Cheong is a graduate of the University of Hong Kong. In his decades-long journalism career, he has specialized in political, military, and diplomatic news in Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, and Singapore.