Corruption plays a big part in Xi's historical resolution

The landmark resolution gave clear signals of Chinese President Xi Jinping's exalted status as the party's "core leader". PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING - The ruling Communist Party of China has released a landmark historical resolution adopted last week by its top decision-making body, just hours after President Xi Jinping's high-profile summit with his US counterpart, Mr Joe Biden.

The resolution, only the third in the party's 100-year history, was not released at the end of the party central committee's four-day sixth plenary session last Thursday.

But a communique summarising the key points of the document that was issued after the meeting gave clear signals of Mr Xi's exalted status as the party's "core leader", and sealed his political ideology, Xi Jinping Thought, as the guiding principle to lead the country at least over the next three decades.

By then, China would have hoped to achieve its "national rejuvenation" target of becoming a modern, advanced socialist country.

On Tuesday (Nov 16), state news agency Xinhua also published an "explanation" of the resolution by Mr Xi justifying the need for such a document, which allows him to put his stamp on the official historical narrative of the party and cementing his authority.

While the document - at 36,000 characters-long - focused largely on the accomplishments of the party since its founding in 1921, it acknowledged failings at certain times in its history, saying it did not supervise certain party bodies effectively.

"This resulted in a serious lack of political conviction among some party members and officials, misconduct in the selection and appointment of personnel in some localities and government departments, a blatant culture of pointless formalities, bureaucratism, hedonism, and extravagance, and a prevalence of privilege-seeking attitudes and behaviour," said the resolution.

Corruption, especially, got significant mention in the document , with the word appearing at least 25 times and described as "the greatest threat to the party's long-term governance".

It said some officials engaged in cronyism and formed self-serving cliques, while others "got too big for their boots".

That led to a "startling level of corruption that damaged the party's image and prestige and severely undermined relations between the party and the people and between officials and the people, arousing the discontent and indignation of many Party members, officials, and members of the public".

Since taking power in 2012, Mr Xi has launched a sweeping anti-graft campaign targeted at both "tigers" and "flies" - high-ranking officials and lower-level public servants - to shore up party discipline and restore trust.

The resolution was also critical of certain social ills that have been attributed to the country's earlier economic-growth-at-all-cost policy.

"Misguided ideas" like "money worship, hedonism, ultra-individualism, and historical nihilism" surfaced, it said.

Apart from an intense crackdown on China's tech companies this year, the authorities have also tightened the noose on the private education sector for its high fees, social media platforms for promoting lavish lifestyles, and censored millions of online posts that challenge the party's official version of history.

Mr Xi has also launched another campaign for "common prosperity" aimed at narrowing the widening wealth and income gaps in the country.

At his meeting with Mr Biden this morning, Mr Xi told the US president that the Chinese aspiration for a better life was an "inevitable trend of history" and cannot be stopped.

Leading a country of 1.4 billion people was a great challenge and responsibility, he was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

"I shall put aside my own well-being and live up to people's expectations," he said.

Only two other historical resolutions have been adopted in the party's 100-year history - the first under Mao Zedong in 1945, four years before the founding of the People's Republic of China, and the second orchestrated by former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and passed in 1981.

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