Chinese leader Xi Jinping opened the fourth plenary session of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)'s 19th Central Committee with a speech about the need for Beijing to “modernize its state governance,” which observers say could be part of the CCP’s strategy to export the Chinese socialism system to the world.
The four-day political conference, where top officials usually discuss personnel changes and political reforms, began at the Jingxi hotel in Beijing on Oct. 28. Some 372 members of the Party elite have the right to attend, as incumbent and alternate members of the CCP’s Central Committee.
Xi’s New ConceptChinese state-run media Xinhua reported on Oct. 28 that Xi spoke about how to “perfect socialism with Chinese characteristics, promote modernization of the state governance system, and governance capability.”
The report used the phrase “China style of governance” to describe the system that Xi promoted in his speech, noting that Xi set the goal of having it “generally implemented” by 2035 and “fully implemented” by 2049.
Xinhua didn't elaborate on the concept, simply quoting Xi using Party jargon to emphasize that the Party would seek “the stability of society, and the long-term peace and stability of the country.”
Purpose“The so-called ‘modernization of the state governance system and governance capability’ is in actuality the CCP’s digital totalitarian system,” Tang Jingyuan, a U.S.-based commentator, said in an interview. “It’s an announcement that the CCP won’t adopt democracy, freedoms, or other universal values in China.”
Tang explained that the Party has used similar wording to describe its high-tech surveillance and monitoring of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. It also used such wording in 2014 to introduce the social credit system, under which all citizens would have their public activities tracked, recorded, and assigned a score of “trustworthiness” by authorities.
He added that the Party is using phrasing such as “China’s style of governance” to legitimize its Orwellian surveillance.
Western countries have raised concerns about the security risks involved in Chinese tech products and companies. But the Party wants to prove that high-tech surveillance can help it maintain its rule and China’s economic development, eventually “expanding the system to other countries,” such as through One Belt, One Road initiatives.
ChangesJust before the opening of the plenary session, the Party’s rubber-stamp legislature unexpectedly announced on Oct. 26 that two top military generals were dismissed from their positions and their membership in the congress. They are Lt. Gen. Rao Kaixun, who was deputy commander and chief of staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Strategic Support Force, and Maj. Gen. Xu Xianghua, who was deputy commander of the Western Theater Command.
The Party secretary is a more powerful position than the governor. The changes are believed to involve factional power moves ahead of the plenum.