19th Party Congress: Xi Jinping outlines new thought on socialism with Chinese traits

Chinese President Xi Jinping (centre), his predecessor Hu Jintao (right) and former President Jiang Zemin (second, right) arrive for the opening ceremony of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (centre), his predecessor Hu Jintao (right) and former President Jiang Zemin (second, right) arrive for the opening ceremony of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING - Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday (Oct 18) spoke about forming a new thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, in a closely watched address at the start of the 19th Communist Party Congress (CCP). 

This encompasses several areas, from having the Chinese Communist Party in leadership role for all work, putting people at the centre, deepening reforms to rule of law, and party discipline.

"This is the compass for the party and people with which to strive for and realise the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," he said.

He was delivering the CCP political report at the national congress, where both his predecessors, Mr Jiang Zemin and Mr Hu Jintao, were seated to his left and right respectively.

Mr Xi has been expected to propound on his political thinking as it is expected to be written into the party Constitution at this congress.

This was the case in the 17th congress when then president Hu spoke about his Scientific Outlook on Development ahead of its being written into the Constitution.

Since late last year after Mr Xi, the CCP's general secretary, had been designated the core of the party's leadership, there had been anticipation that his status would be enhance further by having his thoughts on governance written into the party charter.

In having his thoughts written into the party's guiding ideology, it would also ensure smooth implementation of Mr Xi's policy decisions by raising the political stakes of those who oppose him, analysts have said.

After last Saturday's communique of the Central Committee's seventh plenum announced that an amendment of the party charter was passed by the committee, analysts said that Mr Xi's political thoughts would be written into the charter.

And not only that, this would likely bear his name, unlike those of his two predecessors, Mr Jiang and Mr Hu.

 
 

However, the formulation of his thoughts was up in the air.

The communique had stressed the importance of "implementing general secretary Xi's series of important speeches, and new ideas and new strategies for governance".

But this is a mouthful compared with those of his predecessors - the Mao Zedong Thought, the Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Three Represents and Scientific Outlook on Development.

To have a long string of words for his political thought rather than have proper names like those of his predecessors would mean that it will not have the same weight as the others, analysts have said.

It was anticipated that it would not be as lofty or all-encompassing as the Mao Zedong Thought and that it would have a narrower and less elevated formulation.

Mr Xi's speech has given a strong indication of what the formulation might be although it is not fully certain yet whether it will bear his name.


Xi's 14-point basic policy

Mr Xi Jinping listed a 14-point basic policy that underpins the endeavours to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.

The 14 points are:

1. Ensuring Party leadership over all work.

2. Committing to a people-centred approach.

3. Continuing to comprehensively deepen reform.

4. Adopting a new vision for development.

5. Seeing that the people run the country.

6. Ensuring every dimension of governance is law-based.

7. Upholding core socialist values.

8. Ensuring and improving living standards through development.

9. Ensuring harmony between human and nature.

10. Pursuing a holistic approach to national security.

11. Upholding absolute Party leadership over the people’s forces.

12. Upholding the principle of “one country, two systems” and promoting national reunification.

13. Promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

14. Exercising full and rigorous governance over the Party.