International Forecaster Weekly

CHINA’S XI POISED TO BECOME PRESIDENT FOR LIFE - He Paves the Way at the CCP’s Plenum this Week

Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping have nothing over Xi Jinping. 

Mao and Deng are the only two Chinese Communist Party Leaders to pen a so-called “historical resolution”…that is, until now.

Guest Writer | November 9, 2021

By Dave Allen for Discount Gold & Silver

Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping have nothing over Xi Jinping. 

Mao and Deng are the only two Chinese Communist Party Leaders to pen a so-called “historical resolution”…that is, until now.

            Current party president Xi Jinping is poised to become the third…and possibly the last in a generation.

His title of president, incidentally, is probably the least important. In fact, Xi now holds 12 separate titles in his various official roles — and counting.

In late 2012, Xi was initially named as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CCP and as Chairman of the Central Military Commission.

It wasn’t until four months later that he was elected as President of the People’s Republic of China. But I digress…

Jenni Marsh reports today that the first official declaration on Chinese history since 1981 will lead the agenda when the CCP gets together this week in a heavily guarded military hotel in Beijing.

The so-called 6th Plenum is the party’s last big meeting before next year’s Congress, where Xi will almost certainly look to “win” a third term to extend his open-ended rule and further consolidate his power.

Mao and Deng’s historical resolutions came at critical crossroads in China’s modern history and enabled their authors to dominate party politics until they took their last breaths. 

Marsh says that by issuing his own declaration, Xi would at a minimum be elevated to a level “with those party titans.” The move, she adds, could also “signal big changes afoot in the world’s second-largest economy.”

The plenum, which started today and ends on Thursday, kicks off the closest thing China has to a campaign season. 

Getting the party to support Xi’s historical perspectives — and the country’s future — would be the biggest sign yet that he’s expanded his power base to potentially rule for the rest of his life.

That’s virtually assured anyway after almost a decade of purging enemies within the CCP, pushing national pride to new heights and building up military power to back up its economic ascendancy.

What Happens at a Plenum?

Between each party congress, the Communist Party’s Central Committee meets seven times in meetings called plenums that cover different topics. 

Roughly 400 men and little more than a handful of women — state leaders, military chiefs, provincial bosses (mayor-like figures) and top academics — convene at a heavily guarded military hotel in Beijing. 

Like most things in elite Chinese politics, the agenda is closely held and only disclosed after the plenum has concluded — with any internal debates and dissent edited out. 

Unanimity in defense of autocracy is standard fare — and something for autocrats to write home about.

As the last big meeting in China’s five-year political cycle, the sixth plenum is in many ways more important than others: 

If nothing else, it’s the last chance for party officials’ horse trading before big decisions are made at the next year’s congress. 

In preparation, the party’s Politburo last month approved a draft resolution on “the major achievements and historical experiences of the party’s 100 years” without elaborating. 

So, What Are Historical Resolutions?

At face value, Marsh describes, “they’re long, dry accounts written in unwieldy party-speak. In reality, they’re the ultimate power play.” 

When Mao published his historical resolution in 1945, the People’s Republic was still four years away from being a country and entangled in leadership and power wars. 

Mao’s document, called “Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party,” ended all that uncertainty. It declared that only Mao had the “correct political line” to lead the CCP, clearing the way for decades of his personality-driven rule. 

By the time Deng came out with his own document in 1981, the party was facing another leadership crisis in the wake of Mao’s death four years earlier. 

Without completely discrediting Mao, Deng, Marsh explains, was able to liberalize China’s economy and ban another personality cult without ever being the party president. 

History professor Wu Guoguang says the resolutions carry a lot of weight, because the party revolves around what he calls “documentary politics” — a system where elite decisions are ratified in documents, not laws. 

Wu views the process of writing a CCP document as “a process of consensus building within the party elite,” making such a publication the biggest show of collective approval. 

Chinese state media has reported that Xi has been presenting his resolution to key people outside the party leading up to the plenum. 

Despite some expected constructive criticism, Wu said the presenter always controls the final narrative — “Xi definitely dominates the process of the shaping of this third historical resolution.

”How Will Xi See It?

Unlike his predecessors, Marsh believes that Xi is likely to avoid criticism and past failures of the party. Instead, he’ll focus on spinning a victorious “tale of a century of success” …outlining his vision for a modern Marxist society.” 

The Politburo meeting last month bragged about the great rejuvenation of China being a “historical inevitability” under Xi, perhaps offering clues at the resolution’s content. 

But, as Marsh cautions, weaving a narrative of continuous success requires Xi to embrace the contradictory policies of Mao and Deng, ignore the scars of the Great Leap Forward and Tiananmen Square, and present his own ideology as the natural path forward.

“Blending Mao and Deng together seems illogical, but that is the political trick in playing CCP politics,” professor Wu argues.

So What?

Marsh asks, why does the historical resolution even matter? She notes, “as the leader of one-fifth of the world’s people, Xi’s potential to rule for life has huge ramifications.” 

“Afterall, China’s [leading] man is already on a mission to redistribute the nation’s wealth to build a fairer Marxist society.” 

With a historical resolution under his belt, Marsh believes Xi would head into next year’s electioneering pushing back against the U.S. on trade, Covid origin inquiries and our unyielding support for Taiwan. 

Just a few months ago, Xi called bringing the democratic island under the party’s control a “historic mission” — a move that could actually send Washington and Beijing to war if done by force.

In fact, the Chinese military is now using mock-ups of a U.S. aircraft carrier at a weapons-testing range, new satellite imagery shows.

Intelligence experts say that shows the People’s Liberation Army is focused on neutralizing a key component of U.S. military force.

Asked today about the mock-ups, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said only that the U.S. continues to be concerned by China’s “increasingly coercive behavior” in that region of the Pacific.

The site is in clear view to satellites, a sign that Beijing is trying to show Washington what its missile forces can do. 

This new challenge comes as China/U.S. relations have been quietly improving in recent months.

The Pentagon has voiced concern that China is developing its nuclear weapons capabilities faster than previously believed. 

Many in the U.S. military establishment are also concerned about China’s investments in advanced missile technology, with the top uniformed military officer recently China’s reported hypersonic weapons system tests “very concerning.”

So, don’t be fooled by Xi’s gregarious smiles and gentlemanly exterior. Beneath the surface, Xi Jinping is a cold, calculating leader of the most populous nation on earth.

He could pave the way to cementing his future with a powerful historical resolution this week.

Ramped up geopolitical volatility can only follow.