Chinese Communist Party set to pass defiant resolution laying out foreign policy

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The Chinese Communist Party has announced plans to pass a resolution at an upcoming political meeting as a sign of defiance to the international community.

Chinese state media agency Xinhua News reports that the resolution relates to the Communist Party’s history and that the two previous resolutions made under similar circumstances have signified massive changes in the party’s direction.

Radio Free Asia reports that a summary of the content published by Xinhua is “short on specific historical detail and long on declarations about China’s future” under the leadership of Xi Jinping. It is set to underline China’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy.

“Both of the previous resolutions were passed at a critical stage for the CCP, heralding a new era in China,” Xinhua reported on Oct. 18.

Previous resolutions on CCP history have signalled massive shifts in the party line, and have also signalled the ascendancy of certain factions within the party, according to Patricia Thornton, an associate professor of politics at Oxford University.

“The news release suggests this new resolution is no mere victory lap for the [CCP]: it’s defiant, even truculent, in tone, claiming that it is the Party that allowed ‘the people of [China] to stand up after being enslaved [and] bullied for more than a century in the modern era’,” wrote the professor. “With an affirming nod to the ‘wolf warrior’ discourse of recent months [and] years, it notes the [CCP] has ‘increasingly consolidated [China] international position,’ linking this to the CCP’s new theme of a century of historical struggle (suggesting also continued struggle ahead).”

“‘The [CCP] & the Chinese people solemnly proclaim to the world that, by virtue of their heroic and tenacious struggle, [China] has made a great leap from standing up to getting rich and becoming strong and that the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has now entered [a new stage] in an irreversible historical process.’ The themes of #China’s [national] unity, defiance against perceived resistance from the [international] community [and] the import of hardship [and] struggle predominate,” she added.

“It furthermore calls on ‘the entire Party’ to ‘bear in mind that it thrives under adversity, languishes in quietude, and must anticipate danger in times of peace,’” she added. “If the language of the news release reflects the tone of the resolution, this will significantly depart from the language and tone of the Party’s two previous resolutions on Party history (1945 and 1981), both of which heralded fairly dramatic shifts in Party policy and practice but did not appear to pit [China and the CCP] against the world.”

“Party history resolutions also serve to consolidate the balance of power & *resources* among the party’s internal divisions in the hands of one faction, and seek to bring an end to the competition, internal division & struggle,” Thornton said.

RFA explains:

The wording reported by Xinhua is in stark contrast to the CCP’s 1981 “Resolution on Certain Questions in the History of Our Party since the Founding of the People’s Republic of China,” in which the CCP under Deng penned a 13-page historical commentary that laid the responsibility for the “leftist errors” leading to the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) at Mao’s door, while also lauding his leadership at great length.

The 1981 resolution was largely addressed to the rank-and-file of the CCP and the people of China, who needed to know the likely direction in which Deng would take them following the death of Mao (1976), the power struggle that led to the fall of his designated successor Hua Guofeng, and the trial of the Gang of Four in November 1980.

But Xi’s 2021 resolution contains a “declaration to the world,” suggesting that its target audience is the international community, some of whom may be wondering whether to fall in with Xi’s ambition to export China’s model of authoritarian governance overseas, or to strengthen defences against it.

China’s brand of “wolf warrior” diplomacy is essentially a shift away from China’s previously isolationist stance towards an expansionist position. China has been steadily purchasing property and land all over the world and has come to maintain a stranglehold on the supply chain due to the world’s increasing demands for manufacturing.

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