Asia Times considers the significance of the recent plenary assembly of the Chinese Communist Party that elevated Xi Jinping Thought to the highest ideological level:
Marx. Lenin. Mao. Deng. Xi.
Late last week in Beijing, the sixth plenum of the Chinese Communist Party adopted a historic resolution – only the third in its 100-year history – detailing major accomplishments and laying out a vision for the future.
Essentially, the resolution poses three questions. How did we get here? How come we were so successful? And what have we learned to make these successes long-lasting?
The importance of this resolution should not be underestimated. It imprints a major geopolitical fact: China is back. Big time. And doing it their way. No amount of fear and loathing deployed by the declining hegemon will alter this path….
Make Trade, Not War: that would be the motto of a Pax Sinica under Xi. The crucial aspect is that Beijing does not aim to replace Pax Americana, which always relied on the Pentagon’s variant of gunboat diplomacy.
The declaration subtly reinforced that Beijing is not interested in becoming a new hegemon. What matters above all is to remove any possible constraints that the outside world may impose over its own internal decisions, and especially over its unique political setup.
The West may embark on hysteria fits over anything – from Tibet and Hong Kong to Xinjiang and Taiwan. It won’t change a thing.
Concisely, this is how “socialism with Chinese characteristics” – a unique, always mutant economic system – arrived at the Covid-linked techno-feudalist era. But no one knows how long the system will last, and in which mutant form.
Corruption, debt – which tripled in ten years – political infighting – none of that has disappeared in China. To reach 5% annual growth, China would have to recover the growth in productivity comparable to those breakneck times in the 80s and 90s, but that will not happen because a decrease in growth is accompanied by a parallel decrease in productivity.
A final note on terminology. The CCP is always extremely precise. Xi’s two predecessors espoused “perspectives” or “visions.” Deng wrote “theory.” But only Mao was accredited with “thought.” The “new era” has now seen Xi, for all practical purposes, elevated to the status of “thought” – and part of the civilization-state’s constitution.
That’s why the party resolution last week in Beijing could be interpreted as the New Communist Manifesto. And its main author is, without a shadow of a doubt, Xi Jinping. Whether the manifesto will be the ideal road map for a wealthier, more educated and infinitely more complex society than in the times of Deng, all bets are off.
It is vital to accept that one can no more understand the current and future actions of the CPC – and therefore China – while ignoring Xi Jinping Thought than one could have comprehended the development of China since 1978 while attempting to ignore the Dengist revisionism that has completely transformed both China as well as the global order.
One cannot hope to grasp Marxist-Leninist-Maoist-Dengist-Xism any better than one could have grasped Marxist-Leninism by reading nothing but Marx. Or than one can anticipate the actions of the fake Biden administration by referring to the US Constitution.