Thu, 02 Dec 2021

BEIJING, China: More than 300 members of China's Central Committee will gather in Beijing this week to review a draft history resolution that defines the ruling Communist Party's "major achievements and historical experiences" since its founding 100 years ago.

The meeting comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping is seeking a third term in power.

The agenda of the key meeting, held before the twice-a-decade leadership reshuffle next fall, has been carefully chosen and reflects the importance Xi's interpretation of the party's legacy and his own place in the country's history.

The Chinese Communist Party has always considered its own version of history as a useful tool. For example, Beijing has used it historic claims to disputed territories and waters to support its modern day claims of sovereignty of these territories.

The party has also promoted a narrative of the so-called "Century of Humiliation" by foreign powers, from the First Opium War in 1839 to the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, to gain legitimacy for the party.

Losing control over these narratives can have disastrous results, in the view of the party, and the collapse of the Soviet Union has been cited by Xi as a cautionary tale.

Therefore, the Chinese Communist Party has tried to airbrush darker chapters of its tumultuous past and erase sensitive episodes from public memory.

But the upcoming "history resolution" is not only about reshaping the party's past. More importantly, it is a way for Xi to stamp his current authority and supremacy, and maintain his future power and influence.

The Chinese Communist Party has only issued two such resolutions, put forward by Xi's two most significant predecessors, Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, in its history.

By issuing his own resolution, Xi aims to seal his place in history as a leader on the same level as Mao and Deng.

In order to achieve this, Xi must stay in power for at least a third term and ensure China can take advantage of what he terms the "window of opportunity" to catch up with, and even surpass the West.

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