CCP to tell world that China is ‘standing up’ under leader Xi Jinping

A forthcoming resolution will seek to enshrine Xi’s place in history ahead of a potential third term in office, analysts say.

CCP to tell world that China is ‘standing up’ under leader Xi Jinping

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will pass a resolution at a top political meeting from Nov. 8-11, in what looks to be a defiant message to the international community that the country will continue to "stand up" to foreign oppression in its quest for "national rejuvenation."

State media have reported that the resolution relates to party history, and that the previous two history-related resolutions both heralded significant changes in the party's direction.

However, a summary of its content published by state news agency Xinhua is short on specific historical detail and long on declarations about China's future under CCP general secretary Xi Jinping, and appears to underline the country's increasingly assertive approach to 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.

While previous resolutions on CCP history have signaled major shifts in the party line, they have also signaled the ascendancy of a particular faction within the CCP, according to Patricia Thornton, associate professor of politics at Oxford University.

"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 via her Twitter account, commenting on the Xinhua announcement.

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 defenses against it.

Historic CCP leaders, clockwise from upper left: Mao Zedong, Xi Jinping, Deng Xiaoping, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin. Credit: RFA
More 'Wolf Warrior' diplomacy?

According to Thornton, the language used by Xinhua to describe the resolution also appears to double down on China's recent brand of "wolf-warrior" diplomacy and efforts to extend its political influence far beyond its borders.

"The news release suggests this new resolution is no mere victory lap for the #CCP: it's defiant, even truculent, in tone," Thornton tweeted. "With an affirming nod to the "wolf warrior" discourse of recent months & years, it notes the #CCP has "increasingly consolidated #China's international position."

The inclusion of late supreme leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, as well as former presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, in a pantheon of political leaders culminating in Xi Jinping appears to suggest that Xi is claiming credit for carrying on their work, while backing away from any appraisal of their actions.

Deng Yuwen, a researcher at the India-based Centre for China Analysis and Strategy, said he reads the language in the report as an insistence on party unity ahead of Xi's likely third term in office, likely to be decided at next year's 20th Party Congress.

"There is definitely a connection between the two: the higher the status of Xi Jinping, as enshrined in this resolution on party history, the greater his claim to legitimacy [for a third term]," Deng said.

Meanwhile, a reference to "people of all ethnic groups" as being united under the leadership of the party suggests that the CCP leadership will likely power ahead with its repressive policies of surveillance, assimilation and cultural erasure targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples, Mongolians, Tibetans and Koreans.

The text also seems to stake Xi's claim to Mao's legacy, with the use of the phrase "flying leap," suggesting that Xi has succeeded in bringing Mao's Great Leap Forward (1958-1962) -- a failed bid to catch up to the economic prowess of the U.K. and the U.S. -- to its successful historical conclusion.

And, far from commenting on, or engaging with the judgment inherent in earlier political appraisals of CCP history, the Xinhua text appears to offer a position statement on China's future; an assurance that China is progressing smoothly towards a predetermined historical outcome, in which resolutions like the 1981 report card will no longer be needed.

Chen Kuide, executive chairman of the Princeton Chinese Society in the United States, said Xi is likely looking to establish his personal place in party history.

"Xi Jinping is leading the third resolution on party history to set in stone the third historical stage [of national rejuvenation] and to ensure his place in history," Chen told RFA.

"[The idea is] to establish himself as the third most important leader in the history of the CCP," he said.

CCP 'Hall of Fame'

The first resolution on party history set in motion the "rectification" campaign while the CCP was still encamped at Yan'an during World War II, before it took power in 1949, Beijing-based independent historian Zhang Lifan said via Twitter on Oct. 18.

It resulted in Mao's ascendancy as lifelong party leader, while the second resolution paved the way for decades of reform and breakneck economic growth under Deng, he wrote.

Bao Tong, former top aide to late ousted premier Zhao Ziyang, tweeted that the resolution would likely focus on singing the party's praises.

"Finally, they're coming out with their Hall of Fame," Bao wrote. "But we can be 100 percent certain that it will be filled with positive major achievements and historical experiences."

"This isn't going to be a list of the negative stuff."

Chen Kuide said the phrasing used in the Xinhua news story echoed that of the officially approved "Brief History of the Chinese Communist Party" published earlier this year.

"I think the tone of the third resolution seeks to demonstrate that, since Xi Jinping took office, his efforts to bring about the realization of the Chinese dream and national rejuvenation have been epoch-making, successful and correct," Chen said.

"This is an attempt to compensate for the fact that China's relations with the rest of the world have deteriorated sharply during the past few years, and also a plethora of problems at home," he said.

"It's an attempt to block out that 'noise'."

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

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Families ruptured by junta observe Harvest Moon Festival with heavy hearts

Many loved ones in Myanmar are absent this year because they are detained, on the run, or were killed by the military.

Families ruptured by junta observe Harvest Moon Festival with heavy hearts

Families across Myanmar marked the October Harvest Moon Festival on Wednesday with heavier hearts this year amid the brutal crackdowns, arrests and detentions that have followed the military’s February coup.

In accordance with Buddhist tradition, the Thadingyut Festival is a time when people usually visit with parents and elderly relatives to pay their respects and offer financial assistance. This year, more than last, celebrants ventured out to the nation’s major pagodas to observe associated religious ceremonies, despite the continued threat of the coronavirus pandemic.

But for the first festival under military rule, gatherings were noticeably muted, with many families suffering from a sense of loss because a loved one is on the run, in detention, or even dead because of the junta. Few were the colorful lights and lanterns typically on display in homes, as were bustling local fairs where families would stroll together, eating treats and buying toys.

Nearly nine months after the military’s Feb. 1 coup, security forces have killed 1,181 civilians and arrested at least 7,086, according to the Bangkok-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners—mostly during crackdowns on anti-junta protests.

The junta says it unseated the NLD government because, they claimed, the party had engineered a landslide victory in Myanmar’s November 2020 election through widespread voter fraud. It has yet to present evidence of its claims and public unrest is at an all-time high.

On Monday, the junta released 5,636 political prisoners in what observers said was a bid to ease pressure from ASEAN and the international community—claims it has denied. Hundreds remain behind bars and many of those who have been freed report enduring torture at the hands of their captors, often as part of a bid to extract false confessions during interrogation sessions.

On Wednesday, Htay Win from Kyonkhamon village, in Ayeyarwady region’s Zalun township told RFA’s Myanmar Service about his 33-year-old son, Raza Min, who was shot dead on March 3 by security forces during an anti-junta protest in Yangon’s North Okkalapa township.

Htay Win said that Raza Min returned home from Yangon every year for Thadingyut and that the festival would never be the same without him.

“I miss him every day,” he said, adding that he had been relying on his son’s offerings this time of year for financial support in his old age.

“Every night when I pray to God, I offer him an equal share of my merits. I think of him all the time.”

Htay Win’s sadness was echoed by Thin Thin, whose husband—30-year-old laborer Tin Htut Hein—was killed by a soldier’s bullet on Feb. 21 while guarding a security checkpoint in Yangon’s Shwepyithar township.

She told RFA about how difficult it was explaining to her five-year-old son why his father was absent on Thadingyut.

“We usually visit our parents on both sides for Thadingyut, but it’s different this year because he is not here,” Thin Thin said.

“We have a thousand lanterns and a thousand flowers celebrations in our neighborhood, and we would always go there to enjoy snacks and buy toys. Families would walk around freely as there was no coronavirus then. But now that he’s gone, we don’t feel like going anywhere,” she said.

“My son often asks about him. He thinks his father is coming back.”

Detained or in hiding

Others told RFA their traditions had been upended because their family members had been detained or sent to prison for anti-junta activities.

San San Aye’s four sons Shwe Ngar, Khaing Myeh, Soe Pyi Aung and Aung Myo Lin were arrested last April on charges of murder and sentenced to death in September before being transferred to prisons in Mandalay, Taungoo, Myingyan and Kyaikmaraw.

She told RFA that every Thadingyut her sons pay their respects to their grandmother, and this year they sent letters to her from prison, unaware that she had died three months ago.

“Every year at Thadingyut, my sons would pay homage to their grandmother and parents with their savings,” San San Aye said.

“In their letters, they said they wouldn’t be able to come in person to her this year and sent their respects from afar, but their grandmother already passed away,” she said, adding that she hadn’t informed them about her mother’s death because she didn’t want to upset them.

“Of course, I’d like to see all my children at Thadingyut. I had expected to see them, and now I am heartbroken.”

RFA also spoke with poet Maung Moe Pwint, who has been in hiding after authorities issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of “defamation.”

He said that for Thadingyut he usually visits with his siblings but couldn’t this year because he is on the run and was even unable to attend the funeral of his sister who died recently.

“Every year, I would exchange gifts with my sister at Thadingyut and even if we couldn’t see each other, we would send the gifts to one another,” he said.

“Now that she is gone, I have nothing but sadness. I can’t even eat since I heard the news of her death.”

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 1,989 people have been separated from their families after being issued arrest warrants for their involvement in anti-junta protests.

‘My thoughts are on the revolution’

Some of the younger people RFA spoke with in cities including Yangon and Mandalay said that while they are sad to be separated from their families during Thadingyut, it is more important to show united opposition to the junta and work towards removing the military from power.

A high school student in Mandalay who has been in hiding told RFA on condition of anonymity that he hoped to be able to reunite with his family for the festival in 2022.

“I paid respects to my parents over the phone this year because I cannot go to see them in person,” he said.

“If the dictatorship is over this year, I will be with my family next year and we will enjoy each other’s company again. But right now, my thoughts are on the revolution. Wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, there is a revolution to be fought, even during Thadingyut.”

Reported by RFA’s Myanmar Service. Translated by Khin Maung Nyane. Written in English by Joshua Lipes.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

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