A fact that Party lead­ers have en­dorsed

China Daily (USA) - - VIEWS -

Ever since he be­came the gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Com­mu­nist Party of China in Novem­ber 2012, the world has been watch­ing Xi Jin­ping for his ro­bust an­ti­cor­rup­tion cam­paign and his tough for­eign and se­cu­rity poli­cies. Many­compare­himwith late Chi­nese lead­erDengXiaopin­gand Chair­manMaoZe­dong.

Party cadres have been in­creas­ingly pro­nounced in de­mand­ing un­wa­ver­ing loy­alty to the Party with Xi as the “core”, be­cause he nav­i­gates through China’s chal­lenges that flow not just from the coun­try’s un­prece­dented rise but also from its in­creas­ingly com­pli­cated ex­ter­nal con­di­tions.

The Sixth Plenum of the 18th CPC Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, there­fore, only of­fi­cially en­dorsed what has been China’s “newnor­mal” for most China-watch­ers.

Deng in­tro­duced the con­cept of “core” leader in 1989 when Jiang Zemin was se­lected Party chief. And Jiang laid the foun­da­tion of col­lec­tive lead­er­ship norms that was fur­ther re­in­forced by his suc­ces­sorHu Jin­tao.

The Sixth Plenum does un­der­score the value of “col­lec­tive lead­er­ship”, yet it calls on all Party mem­bers to “closely unite around the Party’s Cen­tral Com­mit­tee with Xi Jin­ping as the core”.

Prima fa­cie, the “core” honor ap­pears to be a “coro­na­tion”. But in ad­di­tion to the sin­gu­lar author­ity Xi has en­joyed for four years, the newhonor im­plies he will have far more to an­swer given his in­creased re­spon­si­bil­ity to ar­rest China’s on­go­ing eco­nomic drift which, in turn, could trig­ger so­cial rifts.

On the pos­i­tive side, how­ever, stronger lead­er­ship will make Xi’s poli­cies and moves more pre­dictable, mak­ing it eas­ier for other coun­tries to build part­ner­ships with China. And a stronger Xi will be able to bet­ter im­ple­ment his Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and en­sure his poli­cies have a far­reach­ing im­pact in China.

In terms of re­gional and global geopol­i­tics, the rise of a stronger Xi would be con­ducive to the resur­gence of Asia and give a moral boost to dwin­dling group­ings of emerg­ing economies such as BRICS (Brazil, Rus­sia, In­dia, China and South Africa) and BA­SIC (BRICS mi­nus Rus­sia) that are seek­ing greater say and space in the new­global gov­er­nance mech­a­nisms like the G20 and the much fa­tigued Bret­tonWoods in­sti­tu­tions.

In the end, how­ever, like his grand Belt and Road vi­sion, the “core” honor for Xi will be dis­sected for its nu­anced Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics that leave a lot to in­ter­pre­ta­tions and the de­vel­op­ments in the com­ing years. The author is a pro­fes­sor at the School of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies in Jawa­har­lal Nehru Uni­ver­sity, New Delhi.

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