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The 31th MAC Advisory Committee Meeting: Highlights of Discussion by Advisory Members*

  • Date:2021-12-01

  The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) recently held an Advisory Committee Meeting on the topic of "Observations on the ‘Sixth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee’ of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)." Key statements and highlights of discussion by the advisory members are as follows:

1. The introductory report presented by the scholars outlined that the “Sixth Plenary Session” passed the third historical resolution to consolidate Xi Jinping's core leadership position, and establish Xi as the core and the course and resolution fully exceeds that of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. This will usher in an era of long-term rule under Xi. It is a foregone conclusion at the CCP's “20th National Congress” that Xi will extend his term. It is also unlikely that Xi’s power will change hands at the “21st National Congress” in 2027. With no foreseeable successor of Xi at the moment in mainland China, it is worth close observation of CCP’s power succession mechanism and potential changes of its system.

2. The participating scholars believed that the "resolution" reveres Xi Jinping's one-man leadership position, ends internal political competition, gives Xi unbridled decision-making power, and leaves the "Xi camp" as the only remaining faction. This underscores the CCP's transition from an "authoritarian" to a "totalitarian" regime. It also shows that the party, through resource reallocation, rectification, supervision, and other measures, is strengthening social control and backtracking to the Mao era. The "resolution" glorifies Xi's nine-year rule and consecrates Xi. However, the CCP’s promotion of "common prosperity" simply underlines its failure to create a moderately prosperous society in all respects. Income inequality in mainland China remains high, with the Gini coefficient from 2012 to 2020 exceeding warning levels. This obviously reveals that behind the "Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of Chinese nation" is a clear intention to appease and distract public dissatisfaction over the economic recession. In addition, the "resolution" highlights "patriots ruling Hong Kong," "resolving problems and eliminating their root causes," and other positions, indicating that the CCP will further tighten its grip on Hong Kong and curtail the city's political and social space in the future.

3. Regarding the CCP's external relations, the participating scholars mentioned that, during the video summit with US President Joe Biden, Xi Jinping deliberately emphasized that the Taiwan issue is the most sensitive matter and potential source of conflict between the US and mainland China. Xi further stressed that both sides must properly manage the Taiwan issue. The scholars suggested that government closely watch the competition and cooperation between the US and mainland China, assess and thoroughly consider the issue of the Taiwan Strait after US-China interaction, and closely keep track of the CCP's operation trend in how the US handle Taiwan-related work. The participating scholars believed that the current US security team has addressed the affairs rather steadily. They also suggested that the government increase US understanding of Taiwan's cross-Strait policies.

* The MAC Advisory Committee Meeting is formed by experts and scholars in related fields. The views and opinions expressed in the meetings or excerpted in this article belong solely to the speakers.