Xi Jinping’s semi-divine image in China is a rewrite of his party’s history

The Sixth Plenum of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee (CC) on Thursday, November 11, adopted a key resolution that further consolidates President Xi Jinping’s power in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Xi as a historical leader essential to China’s growth and supremacy. The “historic” resolution was only the third of its kind in the history of the CCP. The first was approved by Mao Zedong (founding father of the PRC) in 1945, thus legitimizing his and the CCP’s right to rule the country. The second, approved by Mao’s de facto successor Deng Xiaoping in 1981, breaks with Mao’s authoritarian past and blames the founding father for the bloodshed of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The party, however, remained supreme.

Deng even took steps to reduce the amount of central power the Chinese president could wield (to avoid a personality cult like Mao’s) and promoted collective leadership, even introducing a limit of two to the president’s term, which was finally abolished by Xi in 2018.

The 2021 CPC resolution is, therefore, significant because it not only essentially reverses the limited decentralisation of state power that existed during the tenures of Deng and his successors Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, but also allows Xi to rewrite history, pass verdicts on his predecessors, and grandiloquently paint himself as the hero of China’s path to glory.

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