January 22, 2022

People’s Daily article lauds Deng’s economic reforms; doesn’t mention Xi Jinping

People’s Daily article lauds Deng’s economic reforms; doesn’t mention Xi Jinping

People’s Daily article lauds Deng’s economic reforms; doesn’t mention Xi Jinping

By Cheng Yut Yiu
December 13, 2021

Commentators say the article is highly unusual given the degree of influence Xi usually exerts over state media.

A recent article in Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mouthpiece the People’s Daily praising former leaders but not Xi Jinping hints at a potential power struggle in the corridors of Zhongnanhai, analysts said on Monday.

The article summarizes the achievements of the post-1979 economic reform era under late supreme leader Deng Xiaoping and references a ground-breaking 1978 third plenary session lauded by liberal CCP commentator Bao Tong as revolutionary, because delegates seized control of the proceedings and overturned Deng’s attempts to control discussions.

It also insists that the process of economic reform and opening up to the rest of the world came as a result of the party’s reflections on the “serious deficiencies” that led to the Cultural Revolution, an era of top-down rule by late supreme leader Mao Zedong, political denunciations, mass detentions and social turmoil, kangaroo courts and factional violence on the streets.

The 4,000-character piece, signed by Qu Qingshan, dean of the Central Party History and Documentation Research Institute, quotes Deng repeatedly on the need for economic development, as well as crediting former presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao – both leaders who rose to power from different support bases from current leader Xi Jinping – with furthering his work.

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