The 19th National Congress of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) just concluded in Beijing is a landmark event. It represents that China’s new leadership, with General Secretary of CPC’s Central Committee, Xi Jinping, as the “core”, has armed itself with a new theory – the “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” – and will embark on a journey to build China into a “great modern socialist country” by 2049. With increasing confidence, the Party is expected to play a more active and influential role in shaping and developing “socialism with Chinese characteristics” in China. These changes will not only bring profound impacts on China’s economic and social development in the next 30 years, but also generate significant repercussions at a global scale, given the size of the Chinese economy and its rising influence in the world.
The 19th Party congress reviewed the report delivered by Xi Jinping on behalf of the 18th Party Central Committee, discussed the amendments to the Party’s Constitution and the report delivered by the CPC’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. It also elected members of the 19th Party Central Committee and members of the new Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.
On 24 October, the congress approved the addition of “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” to the CPC’s constitution, calling the new theory “a leap forward in the sinicisation of Marxism” and putting it on par with Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of Three Represents, and the Scientific Outlook on Development already existed in the constitution. Relative to his predecessors, however it represents a privileged status as Xi’s name was specifically stated as for Mao and Deng in the title, and more importantly the amendment took place when Xi is still in office, whereas the other theories, except for Mao, were only incorporated into the Party constitution after the relevant leaders had retired.