Xi pushes to become ‘core leader’ at 6th plenary meeting of CCP

By Lobsang Tenchoe

DHARAMSALA, Oct 25: The 6th plenary meeting of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) top leaders began yesterday with a reported drive to cement President Xi Jinping as the ‘core leader’ of the CCP.

The four-day meeting hosted at Jingxi Hotel from October 24-27 is being attended by around 370 permanent and alternate members of the Central Committee of the CPC.

The closed door plenum is also expected to revise two regulations pertaining to party discipline that could boost Mr Xi’s authority in the run-up to the 19th Party Congress late next year.

The closed-door plenum will be held at the military-run Jingxi Hotel in Beijing. Photo: SCMP
The closed-door plenum will be held at the military-run Jingxi Hotel in Beijing.
Photo: SCMP

There are strong signs of a renewed effort to formally name President Xi Jinping as the ‘core’ of the CCP, which will cement his power ahead of a leadership reshuffle next year, reports The Strait Times, Oct 25.

China needs strong leaders, such as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, and that Xi fits the bill, the report cited a magazine linked to People’s Daily, the CCP’s official mouthpiece as saying in an article.

Weighing on the importance of having a ‘core leadership’, The People’s Tribune conducted a survey among 15,600 respondents and interviewed 400 scholars and officials earlier this year.

“Many respondents say Mao helped China stand up, and Deng helped China become rich. Now, for China to become strong, many know clearly that we need to depend on Xi Jinping,” the survey asserted.

Respondents are of the consensus that Xi has proven himself to be a competent ‘core leader’ through traits, such as his unwavering strategic focus and courage to face challenges squarely, the report cited the article as stating.

“All quarters of the society hold high expectations for General Secretary Xi Jinping’s status as the ‘core’ leader to be made clear,” it added.

The report further quoted analysts as inferring that the article published by the CCP-linked magazine is an attempt to increase Xi’s chances to be named “core leader” at the close of the party’s annual leadership meeting on Thursday.

“The report could be an effort to justify Xi’s new title as the ‘core’ or to use public opinion against those opposed to the move,” Wuhan University political analyst Qin Qianhong told The Straits Times.

“If Xi fails, it would be seen as a major setback for him, given the year-long effort, including using official media to bolster his chances,” he added.

The ‘core leader’ concept emerged following the Tiananmen Incident in 1989. Deng Xiaoping described himself, Mao and Jiang Zemin, then-CCP chief as the nucleus of their respective generations to empower Jiang, who took over the CCP amid a national crisis.

If Xi secures the tittle of ‘core leader’, he will have veto powers in the apex Politburo Standing Committee. But he faces considerable challenges stemming from fears within the party that it could lead to the end of the collective leadership framework put in place by Deng, the report added.


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