On Thursday, the centralization of power under Xi Jinping reached a new height. The Chinese Communist Party issued a historical resolution, with an aim to tie Xi as a successor to Mao Zedong. The resolution was passed at the sixth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee, the final gathering of party leaders ahead of the national congress where Xi is all but expected to seek a third term.
Gordon Chang told The Cats Roundtable that the resolution was aimed at writing “a new history” with Xi Jinping “at the center of it.” While many experts have characterized the resolution as Xi’s cementing of power, Chang was more nuanced.
“Many people think that this means that Xi has consolidated his control over the party apparatus, and it could very well mean that,” Chang explained, “but I don’t think that it means what other people say, and that is he is now assured of his third term as the general secretary of the Communist party.”
As power consolidated with Xi, Chang explained it meant he will bear more and more responsibility for the loss of prosperity to the Chinese public. And that discontent is underway, with Chang reminding Americans “there’s a lot that could happen” between now and Xi’s third term.
And growing aggression towards Taiwan and its territorial claims in the South China Seas, Beijing might be using the threat of hot war to bolster what it cannot provide at home.
“We’re seeing hints of very soft consumer spending and that’s supposed to be the core of the Chinese economy,” Chang noted, telling The Cats Roundtable he doubted the Chinese people were “in any mood to put up with war.”
But the difference between the decisions made in China and the decisions made in the US is that the public doesn’t have the final say. And as the CCP paves the way to develop Xi into a cult of personality to rival Mao, the final say for China is up to him.
“The important point here is in many questions the Chinese people don’t count,” Chang observed, adding “Xi Jinping has a number of incentives to actually cause that war at least to intimidate his neighbors into submission”.
Chang worried that if the Biden administration continued to bring a knife to the gunfight, the Chinese would gain the upper hand. He called for lawmakers and the American public to recognize the long-term goal of the Chinese to displace the US as the global superpower. From the flooding of China-manufactured fentanyl onto American streets to the covid-19 pandemic itself, Chang told The Cats Roundtable that these were attacks “that we must recognize.”
“Though we are a far stronger society than China, China can actually win, prevail over us,” Chang warned. “They can destroy America because we are not defending ourselves.”