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Why is there a major meeting in China?

There’s a big meeting currently underway in China. It’s a four-day meeting (dubbed a ‘plenum’) and it’s considered one of the most important events in the Chinese political calendar. There are over 400 leaders, ministers, military chiefs and academics all in attendance at this meeting.

So what are they discussing? 

While the actual agenda of the meeting is kept secret, we do know that a “historical resolution” is set to be  adopted at  the meeting. According to the South China Morning Post, a historical resolution is “official summaries of the party’s history from its formation in 1921 to the point of the resolution’s publication. They address leading political figures, key achievements, lessons learned, and directions for future policies.” 

The historical resolution that is set to be adopted at this meeting will “look back” at key events in the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 100-year history, as well as cement President Xi’s leadership in the country. Resolutions like this aren’t ordinary – this will be only the third resolution of its type in Chinese history. Usually, these sorts of resolutions are only adopted during “tumultuous periods in the party’s history”, with the first coming from Chairman Mao in 1945. While the New York Times has claimed “to steer China’s future, Xi is rewriting its past”, Chinese state media agency Xinhua has labelled President Xi “a man who inherited a legacy and dares to innovate” and “a man who has a forward-looking vision”. Either way, both the discussions and resolution in the meeting are deeply significant, and will influence China’s domestic politics and society for decades.

The power of Xi

Xi became President of China in 2013, and has played a central role in making China a superpower. At the 2016 plenum, Xi was bestowed the title of “core leader” by the CCP and in 2018, Xi abolished term limits, meaning there is no limit on how long he can serve in power (he was elected President in 2013). It’s expected Xi will seek a third term as leader next year at the party’s congress. 

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