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Top Chinese Communist Party meeting set to seal Xi’s legacy

China’s President Xi Jinping arriving with Premier Li Keqiang (left) for a reception at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on the eve of China’s National Day, September 30, 2021. — AFP pic

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BEIJING, Nov 11 — Top Communist Party leaders will wrap up a key meeting in Beijing today that is expected to cement President Xi Jinping’s legacy in Chinese history books.

Xi, the uncontested leader of the world’s most populous nation, has been heading a pivotal plenary of the ruling party’s top figures since Monday, gathering some 400 Communist Party elite in the Chinese capital.

Xi had opened the meeting of the powerful Central Committee on Monday with a work report and “explanations on a draft resolution on the major achievements and historical experience” for the party through its 100-year history, state news agency Xinhua said.

This year’s plenum paves the way for the 20th party congress next autumn, at which Xi is widely expected to be handed a third term in office, securing his position as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.

Analysts say the resolution — only the third of its kind in the party’s history — will help Xi shore up his grip on power by setting in stone his vision for China ahead of next year’s congress.

Xi’s tenure has been marked by a sprawling anti-corruption crackdown, repressive policies in regions like Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong, and an increasingly assertive approach to foreign relations.

He has also created a leadership cult that has quashed criticism, stamped out rivals and introduced his own political theory — dubbed Xi Jinping Thought — to school students.

Xinhua this week described Xi as “undoubtedly the core figure in charting the course of history”.

Like all meetings of China’s secretive top leadership, the four-day event has been held behind closed doors.

Decisions made at the meeting are likely to be released in an official readout later today, ahead of a press conference tomorrow morning.

The plenary meeting comes alongside a flurry of international diplomatic activity.

Beijing and Washington announced a surprise climate pact at the COP26 summit yesterday — appearing to dampen recent soaring tensions — and Xi and US President Joe Biden are expected to hold a video conference in the near future.

However, Xi also warned today of “Cold War-era” tensions in the Asia-Pacific region during a speech on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, with ongoing tensions over Taiwan.

“Attempts to draw ideological lines or form small circles on geo-political grounds are bound to fail,” he told a virtual business conference in thinly veiled comments aimed at the United States.

Beijing also hit out this week at a visit by US lawmakers to self-ruled Taiwan, which China views as its territory. — AFP

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