In a move that will further strengthen his grasp over the country, China’s Communist Party on Thursday declared President Xi Jinping as a ‘core’ leader. This puts Xi in a more powerful position as the party prepares for a key congress next Autumn. Ertswhile leader Deng Xiaoping had coined the term ‘core leader’, which means the person concerned has almost absolute authority and should not be questioned at all. Xiaoping had said himself, Mao Zedong and Jiang Zemin were core leaders. President Xi Jinping was yet to assume the position.
Since assuming office almost four years ago, Xi has grasped and consolidated power quicker than his predecessors. As of now he is in charge of a group leading economic reform and has appointed himself commander-in-chief of the military, though as head of the Central Military Commission he already controls the armed forces.
The plenum meeting which has just ended paves the way for a once-every-five-years congress in the second half of next year, at which Xi will further consolidate his power and could give a clue as to who may replace him at the 2022 congress. A new Standing Committee, the pinnacle of power in China consisting at present of seven people, will be announced at the congress.
But contrary to the speculation that the party may dispense with the over three-decade rule stipulating collective leadership, the plenum stressed the importance of adherence to the collective leadership system of CPC. “They discussed the matter at the sixth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, calling for a combination of collective leadership with individual responsibility,” the report said.
The collective leadership was introduced in 1981 to ensure that no individual dominated the party leadership.
Speculation was rife earlier that it may be amended. As an important part of the CPC’s fundamental organisation
principle of democratic centralism, the collective leadership system “must always be followed and should not be violated by any organisation or individual under any circumstance or for any reason,” a communique said.
Party committees at various levels must adhere to the system, it said. The communique called on leading officials to enhance their understanding of the overall situation and relevant responsibilities, and to resolutely enforce decisions made by party organisations. The plenum also approved two documents on the discipline of the party including the norms of political life within the party under the new situation and a regulation on intra-party supervision, Xinhua quoted a communique as saying.
The meeting also said CPC would resolutely address election malpractice, putting an end to the buying and selling
of official posts or vote rigging. Requesting an official post, honour or special treatment is not allowed under any circumstances, it said. The communique also underscored that the practice of bargaining with party organisations to secure a promotion or disobeying any decisions made by party organisations is also forbidden.
The selection and appointment of officials should not be contaminated by outside interference or misconduct, it said.
(With inputs from PTI and Reuters)