By Gabriel Crossley
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s ruling Communist Party slammed the “money worship”, “extreme individualism” and corruption that emerged in the four decades since the country opened up, calling for stronger party leadership and moral discipline in a key resolution released on Tuesday.
The document strengthens President Xi Jinping’s dominance of the party ahead of what is likely to be a precedent-breaking third term to begin next year, while enshrining his vision of China’s historical trajectory.
The resolution on the party’s “achievements and historical experiences” since its founding 100 years ago was passed at the end of a four-day, closed-door meeting last week of its Central Committee.
It puts Xi on the same pedestal as predecessors Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, whose pre-eminence was cemented by the only other two such resolutions passed, in 1945 and 1981, respectively.
It sketches out an overview of China’s history, from the “humiliations” of the late Qing empire to the present day, and hopes of a future “great rejuvenation”, emphasising repeatedly that the Communist Party is the driver of progress.
Deng launched reforms in 1978 that transformed China from an impoverished backwater into the world’s second-largest economy. His own resolution emphasised the importance of “collective leadership” after the Maoist excesses of the Cultural Revolution.
Xi, however, is seen to have amassed more power than any leader since Mao, and the latest resolution did not emphasise collective leadership.
While the new document pledges to continue with “reform and opening” policies, it noted that since their launch, “erroneous trends of thought such as money worship, hedonism and extreme individualism” have emerged.
The Party also saw a weakening of its leadership and corrupt practices in the reform era, it said.
Stricter governance, stronger ideological work and more cultural “self-confidence” can help solve these problems, it said, noting that the Xi era had seen many long-term issues resolved.
Xi has called for achieving “common prosperity”, seeking to narrow a yawning wealth gap, and has presided over a vast anti-corruption campaign, punishing more than one million officials, from low-ranking cadres to potential rivals for the top leadership of the party.
(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley and Kevin Yao; Editing by Tony Munroe and Nick Macfie)