The agenda of essentially the most essential Central Committee assembly earlier than the twice-a-decade management reshuffle subsequent fall is fastidiously and intentionally chosen. It speaks of the significance Xi attaches to get together historical past, and his personal place in it.
To the Chinese Communist Party, historical past — or slightly, sure curated variations of it — may be extraordinarily helpful.
China’s alleged “historical claims” to disputed territories and waters, as an example, have been utilized by Beijing to bolster its case for modern sovereignty, whereas the narrative hooked up to the so-called “century of humiliation” by overseas powers — from the First Opium War in 1839 to the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 — has turn into a central supply of legitimacy for the get together.
As a outcome, the Chinese Communist Party vigilantly guards its personal historical past — by airbrushing the darker chapters of its tumultuous previous and erasing notably delicate episodes from public reminiscence.
But the upcoming “history resolution” will not be solely about reshaping the get together’s previous. More importantly, it is a method for Xi to codify his authority and supremacy within the current — and undertaking his long-lasting energy and affect into the longer term.
Since its founding, the get together has solely issued two such resolutions, put ahead by Xi’s two strongest predecessors — Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.
Xi sees himself as chargeable for taking over the mantle of Mao and Deng’s epoch-making legacies, brushing previous his two quick predecessors. In that model of get together historical past, Mao led China to “stand up” in opposition to the bullying by overseas powers, Deng helped the Chinese individuals to “get rich,” and Xi is now main the nation on a triumphant path to “become strong.”
And to proceed to try this, the rationale goes, he wants to remain in energy for a minimum of a 3rd time period, to steer the nation by what he phrases the “window of opportunity” for China to meet up with — if not surpass — the West in nationwide power.
For now, few particulars concerning the decision are recognized — barring the expectation that it’s going to most certainly be handed by get together elites this week. The doc’s title signifies a extra celebratory and forward-looking tone than the earlier two resolutions, which centered on clarifying the issues or errors of the quick previous.
But whatever the finer particulars, the consensus amongst political observers is that the decision will additional cement Xi’s authority and place him firmly on the helm of the get together for the foreseeable future.
As George Orwell’s well-known quote from “1984” places it: “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”
And for Xi, it looks as if he is about to regulate all three, a minimum of for now.