Opinion Politics & Protest

One page says it all: Reflections on the 19th National Congress

As anyone might have guessed, the front page of last Thursday’s People’s Daily was dominated by the story of Xi Jinping’s political report to the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party. The page is a riot of red headlines.

The largest headline reads: “19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party Opens in Beijing.” Immediately below: “Xi Jinping Represents the 18th Central Committee in Making a Report to the Congress.”

people's daily

The front page of the October 19, 2017, edition of the People’s Daily.

The smaller, non-bolded headline above the main headline is one of the key messages of Xi Jinping’s report: “Obtaining Victory in the Building of a Moderately Well-Off Society; Seizing Great Victories in New Era Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”. The bolded phrase above is a portion of Xi Jinping’s new “banner term,” or qizhiyu, missing only the word “thought”. We have identified Xi’s full “banner term” as The Thought of New Era Socialism With Chinese Characteristics. We can expect to see this phrase — or perhaps eventually a shortened crowning form, “Xi Jinping Thought” — quite regularly in the People’s Daily in the future.

If you have any lingering doubts about the integrity of this phrase, or its importance, you need only follow the explications of it in the state media. This article on the Xinhua News Agency website last week bears the headline: “These 8 Things Are Clear in The Thought of New Era Socialism With Chinese Characteristics.” So this report, like quite a number of others, uses Xi Jinping’s banner term in the headline, then proceeds to explicate it.

xi jinping xinhua

Xi Jinping’s new banner term, “The Thought of New Era Socialism With Chinese Characteristics,” appears on an image at the top of an article by Xinhua News Agency yesterday.

But notice the visuals in the Xinhua article too. At the top is a deep red image, the Great Hall of the People in the background, with the golden characters: “The Thought of New Era Socialism With Chinese Characteristics.”

Continuing with Thursday’s People’s Daily, the smaller subheads below the main headline read: “Xi Jinping points out that through a long period of struggle, socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era. This is a new historical direction our country’s development.” Again, this sets up Xi Jinping’s banner term. The idea is that we have witnessed the end of one era, spanning Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, and we are now on to the next era.

In many places online now, including at the top of People’s Daily Online, you can also see the three characters meaning “New Era”, which will almost surely become shorthand in many cases for Xi’s banner term. The next section of the subheads contains this bit, again about historical continuity of ideas, with an emphasis on the new: “The thought of new era socialism with Chinese characteristics clearly adheres to and develops socialism with Chinese characteristics, and its principal task is to realize socialist modernization and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people.”

In that last quote, I left off a bit on the end about the building of a “powerful nation of modernized socialism”. But of course that’s important as well, and there is strong suggestion in Xi’s political report that China’s particular brand of governance, which is sometimes now called the “China Solution”, or “China Plan,” is a model for countries around the world.

xi jinping

The top of Thursday’s People’s Daily Online, the official website of the official CCP newspaper, with bright golden characters at the top reading “New Era,” and a quick-scan QR code link to the text of Xi’s political report.

Of course, we can’t forget the bit of text next to the masthead in the People’s Daily. That, as it clearly states, is the theme of the congress: “Not neglecting our original intent, steadfastly bearing in mind our mission, raising the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, decisively achieving a comprehensively well-off society, seizing the great victory of new era socialism with Chinese characteristics, struggling tirelessly to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people.”

A single page in the People’s Daily more or less says it all. Though as we have said, we will be unpacking this document for many, many weeks.

Republished with permission from the China Media Project.

One page says it all: Reflections on the 19th National Congress