Best Of The Web
“The top brass of China’s Communist Party (CCP) – its 370-strong Central Committee – recently emerged from the Fourth Plenum of the 2017 Party Congress. Such meetings, usually one a year, are key forums for policy discussion. At the previous plenum, in February, 2018, the Central Committee made one of the most politically contentious changes of the past 40 years: the decision to abolish the constitutional restriction that limited the president to two consecutive terms, a restriction specifically introduced in 1982 to prevent a return to the unconstrained, capricious rule of the Mao years. China’s current ruler Xi Jinping, like Mao, could be ruler for life.
Many observers concluded from this development that the CCP under Mr. Xi was taking a great leap backward into the Mao era. A close look at two CCP declarations bookending the latest party conference, however, suggests a more expansive – though also contradictory – playbook for the current regime.
We will probably not learn for years – if ever – exactly what was discussed at the plenum, since its debates take place behind firmly closed doors; delegates are not allowed to leave the venue during the meeting, to guard against leaks. To outsiders, therefore, so much of elite Chinese politics remains a black box. However, two verbosely titled statements published at the start and close of the meeting give insights into the party mood. The first, “Outline for the Implementation of the Ethical Construction of Citizens in the New Era,” presented the CCP’s blueprint for moulding the national character; the second, “A Decision on Some Major Issues Concerning How to Uphold and Improve the System of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics and Advance the Modernization of China’s System and Capacity for Governance,” was the resolution arising from the plenum. Taken together, they present a comprehensive, outwardly self-confident master plan for China’s current and future trajectory.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"U.S. President Donald Trump thinks he’s suffered more injustice than the alleged witches of Salem, but it could be worse. Pakistan’s former president Pervez Musharaff faced possible impeachment in 2008, leading to his resignation. In the end..."
"The 2000s felt like a decade of looking forward. Wi-Fi went mainstream, phones got smarter, social media connected us, digital tools let us rely less on physical ones. But the 2010s brought a shift. There was still tons of new technology, but..."
"While some women experience pregnancy and childbirth as joyful, natural and fulfilling, others find themselves recoiling in horror at the physical demands of carrying and sustaining a child in their womb, and even more so at the potential..."
"A few months ago, the New York Post’s Steve Cuozzo bemoaned the death of the Manhattan power lunch. Gone were the long, decadent afternoons filled with networking and Negronis: “Suit-and-tie-wearing machers in media and Wall Street gave way to..."
"Economic inequality has moved to the top of the political agenda in many countries, including free-market poster children like the US and the UK. The issue is mobilizing the left and causing headaches on the right, where wealth has long been..."
"If you’re not familiar with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats — or even if you are — then you probably have many, many questions going into the film adaptation this weekend, especially if you’ve witnessed the widespread bafflement the trailer..."
"Despite his precisely targeted campaign and some unexpected support, the chances of Gideon Saar engineering a surprise defeat of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Dec. 26 primaries for the Likud party leadership are still considered modest.."
"Peter Thiel is Big Tech’s most prominent Trump supporter. He is an unabashed enemy of the free press, having covertly funded a lawsuit that bankrupted Gawker three years ago. He has become one of the most vocal pro-monopoly advocates, taking a..."