Xi Jinping Thought Cemented in China’s Constitution as Party Congress Concludes
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Xi Jinping Thought Cemented in China’s Constitution as Party Congress Concludes

October 16, 2019


loud and clear
welcome back to loud and clear I’m Brian Becker and I’m John Kiriakou. The twice
a decade Chinese Communist Party Congress has voted to make reference to
a Xi Jinping Thought in its constitution as the first living Chinese president to
have his name added to the party Constitution since Mao Zedong will Xi Jinping bring about major changes in the country? We are joined from Toronto
by political analyst and writer Ajit Singh. Welcome back Ajit. there’s a lot of
talk about what what Xi Jinping’s leadership actually means inside of
China inside the Chinese Communist Party it’s clearly a leadership that has a
singular type importance perhaps more important than the former Chinese
presidents since Deng Xaoping and the media has lots of different takes
about it. Will Xi Jinping, when he leaves office after 10 years which he’s
constitutionally required to do, will he continue to be as the u.s. media says
China’s strongman? will he really wield influence? will he be a dominant type
leader? not to mention all the actual content of Xi Jinping’s program and his
ideological sort of focus within the Chinese Communist Party. what’s your take
on this? Ajit: yes I think there are two aspects which I would focus on. firstly I
think you’re correct in saying that Xi Jinping’s a singular leader and his
focus is really significant and his leadership has marked a decisive shift
in course for the Communist Party what was announced at that this most recent
Congress is that the party is is changing its its view of the China of
Chinese society as being one which means to combat inequality in order to meet
people’s needs this is the the main focus of the party
previously the focus of the party was on building up the economy to meet people’s
needs and so this really marks a shift in the
action over the past 30 years and there’s been a big focus on building
unity and discipline in the party around the leadership of the party under his
presidency and the leadership of the the central committee and we’ve seen this
with the five year long anti-corruption campaign which has really stipulated new
strict requirements on party work new regulations in order to try and promote
what they see is necessary for the party and necessary for party vitality which
is more grassroots links more less extravagance less corruption less less
individualism in the party more governance and and we see that teaching
things been entered into the Constitution cheating things thought on
socialism for Chinese carrot with Chinese characteristics for a new era
and there’s a really strong support around changing things it’s been
designated as a core leader achieved right I’m just to interrupt for a second
so what’s the distinction with the label core leader yes so core leader is sort
of a formal label which the party can designate someone it’s not always the
President or even the general secretary which is the title of the leader in the
party it’s just what the party designates as being the person or the
area which all other party members should sort of orient themselves towards
and orient themselves towards supporting so a few years ago is Xi Jinping was
designated as Corps and there’s this sort of means that the party is trying
to ensure that from the grassroots level all the way up there’s really a focus
towards the thought which was just and the principles are just enshrined in the
Constitution and this these these principles include ensuring stronger
party leadership improving the quality of the party there’s really been a focus
on rooting out bad party work or what it deems bad party work focusing on
environmentalism people centred approach is the term they use and Bill
International Cooperation and a greater role for China and International Affairs
what we’ve seen in the second aspect is while I cease using pings influence and
the leadership around him as really being a strong force in China which I
think is gonna have a lasting impact going into the future there’s I think a
lot of inaccurate and dishonest reporting on China in Western corporate
media they’ve been really trying to portray it as sort of Xi Jinping as one
individual controlling all of the strings in China’s country of 1.4
billion people and I think there is a legacy of several things going on here a
sort of Western colonial chauvinism which refuses to accept a world in which
there are areas of importance outside of only the west and which refuses and is
resistant towards the end of Western political domination which we’ve seen in
the world over the past few centuries there’s also the typical anti-communism
and anti socialism which is sort of a quote unofficial religion in the in the
West and so there’s lots of loaded terminology and bias eases China’s a
quote totalitarian dictatorship in a very sinister place I think when they
talk about Zhi Jing ping they’re sort of this attempt to try and portray China’s
having no democracy and really feeding into this legacy of Yellow Peril
Orientalism and sign of phobia and racism and the idea that Chinese leaders
are oriental despots who rule with an iron fist a lot of the coverage in the
New York Times yesterday there’s a piece with the headline quote as China’s Xi
Jinping unveils new leaders will he include an air and CNN Today published a
piece titled Xi Jingping cements a grip on power with the tagline Xi Jingping
the move means that he can be an emperor for life and I think this is really
dishonest and they’re trying to sort of depict cheating thing as some sort of
sinister malicious character who’s really self-interested and I
think that’s accurate in China there’s a five-year presidential limit with a
two-term limit their delegates at the National Congress which closed yesterday
that’s the highest decision-making body in the country thousands of delegates
are elected to attend they review the party work and they decide on the course
going forward and they elect a central committee who elects a leader and I
think they’re really trying to say like well she Jinping just is gonna pick
everyone and and Zhi Jing ping can appoint in here and this is really has
no basis if you look at it if any if we look at comparisons with like the United
States for example throughout the past century you can count on your hand the
number of times you see the Roosevelts in positions of power or in presidency
the Kennedys let me let me jump in because we don’t have that long I hear
you about the United States and there’s sort of the different family dynamic we
have the bushes the Clintons you know we the Roosevelt’s etc but I want it I
don’t want to compare China to the United States I want to compare China to
China just for the sake of trying to understand what might be coming with the
new leader you know with this very singular leadership the aging ping
leadership and I agree with you that there has been a lot of caricature een
as there is always and a lot of racist caricature een as happens frequently in
the US media about Chinese leadership but Walter let’s let’s jump to you real
quick after Mao Zedong died in 1976 there was
a leadership shake-up the MAL faction went to prison the gang of four and then
two years later dong Xiao Qing’s grouping came into power and then they
had a major policy reorientation that was called the opening of China the
integrating China into the world economy allowing foreign direct investment into
China allowing capitalist property relations
to develop in China and as a consequence of China’s integration into the world
economy it has grown rapidly and hundreds of millions of people have
emerge out of poverty but there have also been
the growth the growth of class contradictions and class polarization
and and after and after and at the end of the dung shopping era there was the
Tiananmen Square incident where there was another internal party struggle of
the general secretary of the party was purged because he was considered to be
sympathetic to the student protesters and the Chinese Communist Party under
dung shoppings leadership cleared the square and stopped what might have been
a similar overturn of the government as happened in the Soviet Union or inside
of Eastern Europe and then the Chinese Communist Party as it restabilized
adopted sort of an institutional transition of power so that it wouldn’t
be like a huge factional struggle when a great leader sort of departs as happened
with Mao or happened with Deng Xiao ping or happened after the death of Lenin or
after the death of Stalin inside the Soviet Union so there was this idea of
having a smooth constitutional transition the two-year five-year two
five-year terms for the presidency and I think what the media is trying to get at
is that even if the formality of Xi Jinping’s adherence to the Constitution
happens which it will will will Xi Jingping have the kind of leadership
stature that even though informal is real beyond his two terms in other words
going back to the singularity or centrality of a particularly Dersch
oppressor than the party as a whole what’s your view I
I think there’s a possibility for that happening I think the the principal
consideration whenever a social system or a type of government decides to
emphasize the leadership of one individual or one family it’s generally
a response to to substantial outside pressures so you know for instance there
was a sharp turn towards emphasis of the leadership of the Kim family in in Korea
as a consequence of the sino-soviet split and in China you know they’re
dealing with a major transformation from a country that was primarily based on
manufacturing for export to one that’s based principally on internal demand and
internal consumption and so the leadership of Gigi and ping I think
could be considered by some to be a helpful thing in this transfer
transitional process Xi Jinping also at this party Congress didn’t appear to
appoint or elevate any one of his senior lieutenants to a position whereby they
would be sort of the heir apparent the obvious person to take over once a
second five-year term runs out there’s an informal rule in the Chinese
Communist Party called 67 up 68 down so if you’re 67 years old you’re allowed to
be up for reappointment to another position if you’re 68 you’re supposed to
stand down and so the head of China’s anti-corruption campaign who I believe
is 69 or 70 years old there was there is some speculation that like well if he
ignores this rule and if he is reappointed for another term then that
would be an indicator that Zhi Jing ping who would also be over 67 by the time
his next term is out might agree or you know this would be sort of like setting
the table or setting the the scene for him to also ignore that rule but that
didn’t happen so the head of the anti-corruption campaign stepped down a
jade there’s no question about inside of China that there’s any sort of one
family rule nothing like that certainly exists within the Chinese Communist
Party but but there are there is the question of line and the question of
political orientation and as you said the the party is presenting the idea
that China has gone through stages and the last stage in the stage that is now
being sort of followed up with a new stage was the stage to use their the
means of production to develop in such a way whether it was by capitalist methods
or socialist methods or a combination of methods to build the economy up and now
the new task is having built a economy up or starting to reach a critical mass
to go back to sort of the basics of the revolution
which is to overcome inequality class division in other words it seems like Xi
Jinping at least it the way it’s being presented is sort of going back to the
original Chinese Communist Party orientation towards socialism and
communism rather than being focused purely on a developmental model that
used capitalist property relations as a mechanism do you see it that way
yeah I do agree that the leadership under Xi Jinping is definitely shifting
towards combating inequality towards lifting people’s living conditions and I
think there’s a really comprehensive approach that they’re taking to try and
make sure that this is this is the direction that China takes beyond for
the next decades throughout throughout the century and then further in
enshrining the developments of Xi Jinping thought into the Constitution
they’re the resolution which they passed yesterday in the closing session of the
Congress said that the party must carry this thought out towards in the future
and develop it and make it stronger and a lot of the policy approaches that have
been taken under Xi Jingping I think really support this idea that this is a
shift push for a long term change in direction for the party we’ve seen a
really strong emphasis on education and cultural development and cultivation of
Marxist ideology and quote core socialist values throughout society in
even at the level of primary and middle schools daily education we see all sorts
of regulations on party members and and more strict regulations on Marxism in
line with Xi Jinping’s developments and and his leadership of this sort of
people centered combating inequality path and we also even see things in in
the media like which have stipulated regulations that media content and even
things like film and television content needs to be in line with core socialist
values and not promote things that have been singled out as
as being in opposition to this such as and I’m quoting like hedonism radical
individualism so I really think there’s a strong effort to make this a long-term
shift in the party and not something short yeah I hear you aside from social
values like hedonism and individualism there are of course many very rich
people including capitalists who are inside the Communist Party
there’s millionaires who are inside the Communist Party and inside the
Parliament we have about a minute left ideologically people can say the same
words about socialism or Marxism or you know shared values but of course there
are class differences and antagonistic class differences
I’ve got again the Chinese government seems to be arresting millionaires and
billionaires in large numbers so you’re a billionaire in China but that doesn’t
mean that you’re not about to go to jail we have about 45 seconds left how do you
how will China or how will is using pings leadership manage that kind of
contradiction I think towards by legislating and really solidifying the
anti-corruption straw initiative and I think why they’re formulating this
culturally is I think China wants to avoid the sort of great upheaval within
its society and it wants to it sees the class contradiction to its existing
society but it wants to be able to to eradicate them in a long-term harmonious
sort of way as opposed to like a very big upheaval it’s very concerned with
maintaining stability so I think we’ll continue to see clamping down on on
corruption on corrupt entrepreneurs and we’ve seen there’s lots of reports of
increased regulations on the activity of entrepreneurs we saw wandah the big
corporation its foreign direct investment was completely slashed this
year because it wasn’t in line with what the party wanted and what the party said
that they had to do so I think we’re gonna see a continued deepening of this
sort of rule of the party and socialist development we’re gonna we’re gonna come
back and revisit this this is a big issue of course China the biggest
country in the world the most populous country in the world and certainly the
most dynamic economically and now internationally in terms of diplomacy
we’ve been joined from Toronto by people analyst and writer Ajit Singh you’re
listening to loud and clear after a short break we’ll be right back
loud and clear

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