China and the world: What is to be expected from the plenum this time?
What is the plenum all about and why is it so important?
The plenum is a meeting which is attended by all full and alternate members of the Communist Party’s Central Committee. More than 370 full and alternate members, who happen to hold the most important offices, will attend this closed doors affairs in Beijing for ( from 8th to 11th November) four days. Each central committee holds 7 plenums in its 5 year cycle. Following Mao Zedong's demise, from 1977 onwards a plenum has been held at least once a year. The plenums each have a theme, with the first few dealing with the party organization. Others deal with the five year plan, governance and issues pertaining to ideology. This is the CPC's 19th central committee.
As mentioned earlier, the meetings take place behind closed doors and after the end of the plenum, a statement is issued which consists of details about the discussions and resolutions.
This event, led by Xi Jinping is of utmost importance. From what is expected, Xi Jinping will unveil a historical resolution, which has been done only twice previously, once by Mao Zedong (on the sinicization of Marxism) and then by Deng Xiaoping ( acknowledgement of Mao’s failures, including the “Cultural Revolution” and “Great Leap Forward”).
Red scare 2.0?
I shall be very honest. All the media coverage (including that by a section of leftists in the west) of anything China related usually involves a bucket load of sinophobic garbage. As the 6th plenum this year focuses on the party's experiences and achievements, the plenum is being looked at as a power move: a bid for Xi to secure his next term. They partly fear this as Xi had been anointed the party's core in 2016 and the very next year Xi Jinping thought was written into the constitution.
Critics say that the plenum will evade discussions on criticisms of the Party. It will not dwell on the so called wrongdoings of the party.
This is untrue. As the cgtn reports, according to a meeting of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau held in October, the views and suggestions from all sides, both within and outside the Party, were collected when drafting the key resolution which will be submitted to the sixth plenary session for deliberation.
Moreover, a symposium was chaired by Xi Jinping to hear from the central committees of non-CPC political parties, the head of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and also individuals with no party affiliation. This clearly is an indication of facilitation of dialogue and criticism from within and outside. This is not an empty headed, mindless celebration of achievements.
But China does have a lot to look back on. A lot of achievements which have been sidelined by the west, or looked at with skepticism need to be focused upon. For instance, China's obliteration of absolute, bone crushing poverty (which is interesting because the national benchmark used by the Chinese government, 2:30 a day, is slightly higher than the $1.90 a day poverty line used by the World Bank to look at poverty globally) definitely needs to be examined. China places a lot of weightage on people-centered development ideology.
China has also shown its commitment to scientific temper by demonstrating its thorough handling of the covid situation. The world bore witness to its robust health care system (something the likes of USA still ought to fight for).Not only has this been completely sidelined by the west, but also there has been skepticism regarding the same.
Age old tropes about China have always been dominant. There is always an invocation of a shroud of secrecy when it comes to official matters of the party. This, again is fake. There is an official summary communiqué after each meeting which is made available. For instance, the fifth plenum dealt in depth with China's path to socialist modernization.
Why are these meetings needed?
The sixth plenum, headed by Xi Jinping needs to be watched upon. The cruciality of the same has been noted in a meeting held by the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on August 31. As per the meeting, a review of the major achievements and the experience accumulated during the Party's 100 years of endeavor is needed for the new course of fully building a modern socialist country and for upholding and promoting socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. The path to modernity, the goal of building a prosperous society ( that to for all) is an important cornerstone in the history of China and it certainly merits reflection.
China's rise, its indomitable spirit, fight against the global hegemon that is the USA indeed calls for celebration.