.
China’s Great Hall of the People is a large and imposing Soviet-style building situated on the western side of Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing.  Since its construction in 1958-59 by communist volunteers, it has been used by the Communist Party of China (CPC) for legislative and ceremonial gatherings. From Oct. 24 to 27, 2016, the CPC held the sixth Plenary Session of its 18th Central Committee, At this legislative meeting, the CPC called on all Party members to rally round the CPC Central Committee. It also asked for honesty and loyalty from the 88 million Party members nationwide. Party members were told to “resolutely safeguard the authority of the CPC Central Committee and its central, unified leadership while they push forward the “comprehensive and strict governance of the Party:” that is, as they move forward with another campaign to root out corruption amongst government and Party officials. Xi Jinping, Secretary-General of the Party and the nation’s President since 2012, has warned repeatedly that official corruption poses an existential threat to the CPC and must be eradicated. Since 2012, Xi has led a series of anti-corruption campaigns, which have netted dozens of high-ranking civil and military leaders in recent years. Investigations have not been limited to high-ranking officials, though. Xi has vowed to take on both the big “tigers” and the lowly “flies”. Since 2012, inspection teams have conducted eight rounds of inspections on all major provincial-level governments in China, large state-owned enterprises and state-owned financial institutions. Since 2010, tens of thousands of officials of both low and high rank have been removed from office for corruption and graft, according to the center on U.S.-China relations in the Asia Society, which tracks the campaigns and recently launched an interactive map that provides a visual representation of results across industry sectors and geographic regions. In 2015 alone, The CPC’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) claims to have punished more than one hundred thousand officials for beaches of the Party’s codes of conduct. Both Xi and the Party now want to forge a new anti-corruption mechanism—one that will help to ensure that Party officials “won't want to be corrupt, don't dare to be corrupt, and couldn't be corrupt even if they did want to be.” To that end, a motion was carried at the October meeting to recognize “the CPC Central Committee “with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core,” as the chief representatives of the fundamental interests of the Party and the State” By doing so, the Party hopes to strengthen its leadership —a prerequisite, it believes, for pushing forward new rounds of difficult economic, legal and political reforms amid growing political factionalism in China and intense completion for power as the country’s economic growth slows to its lowest level in twenty-five years and more manufacturing shifts to other countries in South-East Asia with lower labor costs. Xi’s initiatives to strengthen the Party’s leadership, together with his assertive approach to foreign policy, aimed chiefly at countering U.S. efforts to ‘contain’ China through a strategic military and diplomatic pivot toward the Asia-Pacific, have made Xi one of China’s strongest and most popular leaders since Deng Xiaoping, Mao Zedong’s successor and the chief architect of the country’s economic reforms and opening up to the outside world, which began in 1978, marking a shift in the CPC’s revolution from Class struggle under Mao, which overthrew the last vestiges of an old and oppressive feudal system in China,  to general economic development and reintegration with the world, which have lifted millions from poverty in China and made the country’s economy the second largest in the world. In fact, it was Deng who coined the phrase "core leader,” saying that every collective leadership needed a solid core to be reliable. Deng named Mao Zedong, himself and Jiang Zemin (China’s paramount leader from 1989 to 2002) as three such “core leaders.” Xi Jinping: The making of a Post-Revolutionary communist Party Hero. In January 1969, a tall 16-year old student from Beijing arrived at a remote village on the windy Loess Plateau of Shaanxi province in northwestern China. He was about an hour’s drive from Yanan, the dusty provincial town that Mao Zedong had used as his stronghold decades earlier, during the war of resistance against the Japanese (1937-45) and the civil conflict that brought him to power in 1949. As Xi Jinping surveyed his new surroundings, looking out over the frozen fields of his family’s ancestral region to the rugged, ochre-colored mountains in the distance, he must have thought about his father. Xi’s father had been there before him. As a communist guerrilla fighter, his father had established the Shaanxi-Gansu Revolutionary Base. He was there to greet Mao after the torturous Long March that ended in Yanan in 1935. At the time, the area was still struggling to recover from nearly two decades of devastating droughts. After the People’s Republic was established, Xi’s father became Mao’s propaganda minister and then vice premier. But when Xi was only 9, his father slipped up. He spoke out in favor of a popular novel regarded as a thinly-veiled criticism of the “Great Helmsman,” for which he was quickly purged from the Communist Party, sent to work in a factory, and imprisoned for many years during the Cultural Revolution. Xi became a victim of circumstance. Labelled a “reactionary” student because his father was an “enemy of the revolution," he was jailed several times and publicly humiliated. Finally, he was sent off to the Wenanyi commune in Liangjiahe under Mao’s Xiafang or “Down to the Countryside” re-education program. Together with 30 other urban youths, he was to live and work with local peasants, to be molded into the socialist model and cleansed of “unorthodox tendencies.” Xi spent his days in the village digging wells, repairing dams and working in the fields. He lived with a local farmer in a yaodong, one of the man-made cave dwellings common to the area because they afford refuge from Shaanxi’s harsh winters and hot summers. “I ate a lot more bitterness than most people” at that time, Xi said in an interview with China Parenting Magazine in 1996.   Photo Credit: Reuters

About
Paul Nash
:
Toronto-based Correspondent Paul Nash is a frequent China commentator and serves as a Senior Contributing Editor at Diplomatic Courier.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

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Xi Jinping named 'core' leader of the Communist Party of China, tightens grip on power

November 16, 2016

China’s Great Hall of the People is a large and imposing Soviet-style building situated on the western side of Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing.  Since its construction in 1958-59 by communist volunteers, it has been used by the Communist Party of China (CPC) for legislative and ceremonial gatherings. From Oct. 24 to 27, 2016, the CPC held the sixth Plenary Session of its 18th Central Committee, At this legislative meeting, the CPC called on all Party members to rally round the CPC Central Committee. It also asked for honesty and loyalty from the 88 million Party members nationwide. Party members were told to “resolutely safeguard the authority of the CPC Central Committee and its central, unified leadership while they push forward the “comprehensive and strict governance of the Party:” that is, as they move forward with another campaign to root out corruption amongst government and Party officials. Xi Jinping, Secretary-General of the Party and the nation’s President since 2012, has warned repeatedly that official corruption poses an existential threat to the CPC and must be eradicated. Since 2012, Xi has led a series of anti-corruption campaigns, which have netted dozens of high-ranking civil and military leaders in recent years. Investigations have not been limited to high-ranking officials, though. Xi has vowed to take on both the big “tigers” and the lowly “flies”. Since 2012, inspection teams have conducted eight rounds of inspections on all major provincial-level governments in China, large state-owned enterprises and state-owned financial institutions. Since 2010, tens of thousands of officials of both low and high rank have been removed from office for corruption and graft, according to the center on U.S.-China relations in the Asia Society, which tracks the campaigns and recently launched an interactive map that provides a visual representation of results across industry sectors and geographic regions. In 2015 alone, The CPC’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) claims to have punished more than one hundred thousand officials for beaches of the Party’s codes of conduct. Both Xi and the Party now want to forge a new anti-corruption mechanism—one that will help to ensure that Party officials “won't want to be corrupt, don't dare to be corrupt, and couldn't be corrupt even if they did want to be.” To that end, a motion was carried at the October meeting to recognize “the CPC Central Committee “with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core,” as the chief representatives of the fundamental interests of the Party and the State” By doing so, the Party hopes to strengthen its leadership —a prerequisite, it believes, for pushing forward new rounds of difficult economic, legal and political reforms amid growing political factionalism in China and intense completion for power as the country’s economic growth slows to its lowest level in twenty-five years and more manufacturing shifts to other countries in South-East Asia with lower labor costs. Xi’s initiatives to strengthen the Party’s leadership, together with his assertive approach to foreign policy, aimed chiefly at countering U.S. efforts to ‘contain’ China through a strategic military and diplomatic pivot toward the Asia-Pacific, have made Xi one of China’s strongest and most popular leaders since Deng Xiaoping, Mao Zedong’s successor and the chief architect of the country’s economic reforms and opening up to the outside world, which began in 1978, marking a shift in the CPC’s revolution from Class struggle under Mao, which overthrew the last vestiges of an old and oppressive feudal system in China,  to general economic development and reintegration with the world, which have lifted millions from poverty in China and made the country’s economy the second largest in the world. In fact, it was Deng who coined the phrase "core leader,” saying that every collective leadership needed a solid core to be reliable. Deng named Mao Zedong, himself and Jiang Zemin (China’s paramount leader from 1989 to 2002) as three such “core leaders.” Xi Jinping: The making of a Post-Revolutionary communist Party Hero. In January 1969, a tall 16-year old student from Beijing arrived at a remote village on the windy Loess Plateau of Shaanxi province in northwestern China. He was about an hour’s drive from Yanan, the dusty provincial town that Mao Zedong had used as his stronghold decades earlier, during the war of resistance against the Japanese (1937-45) and the civil conflict that brought him to power in 1949. As Xi Jinping surveyed his new surroundings, looking out over the frozen fields of his family’s ancestral region to the rugged, ochre-colored mountains in the distance, he must have thought about his father. Xi’s father had been there before him. As a communist guerrilla fighter, his father had established the Shaanxi-Gansu Revolutionary Base. He was there to greet Mao after the torturous Long March that ended in Yanan in 1935. At the time, the area was still struggling to recover from nearly two decades of devastating droughts. After the People’s Republic was established, Xi’s father became Mao’s propaganda minister and then vice premier. But when Xi was only 9, his father slipped up. He spoke out in favor of a popular novel regarded as a thinly-veiled criticism of the “Great Helmsman,” for which he was quickly purged from the Communist Party, sent to work in a factory, and imprisoned for many years during the Cultural Revolution. Xi became a victim of circumstance. Labelled a “reactionary” student because his father was an “enemy of the revolution," he was jailed several times and publicly humiliated. Finally, he was sent off to the Wenanyi commune in Liangjiahe under Mao’s Xiafang or “Down to the Countryside” re-education program. Together with 30 other urban youths, he was to live and work with local peasants, to be molded into the socialist model and cleansed of “unorthodox tendencies.” Xi spent his days in the village digging wells, repairing dams and working in the fields. He lived with a local farmer in a yaodong, one of the man-made cave dwellings common to the area because they afford refuge from Shaanxi’s harsh winters and hot summers. “I ate a lot more bitterness than most people” at that time, Xi said in an interview with China Parenting Magazine in 1996.   Photo Credit: Reuters

About
Paul Nash
:
Toronto-based Correspondent Paul Nash is a frequent China commentator and serves as a Senior Contributing Editor at Diplomatic Courier.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.