264080239_MERICS China Essentials_211111
MERICS China Essentials
15 min read

6th plenum + COP26 + Singles' Day

In this issue of the MERICS China Essentials we cover the following topics:

  • CCP strengthens Xi by adopting only third official resolution on history
  • Beijing sees 2C global warming if industrialized nations don’t do more
  • Strong exports prop up growth as consumption slows 
  • Singles’ Day: China’s domesticated e-commerce platforms going global
  • REVIEW: The Long Game: China’s Grand Strategy to Displace American Order by Rush Doshi (Oxford University Press, 2021)
  • PROFILE: Peng Shuai – a tennis star evokes frenzied discussion and official censorship

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CCP strengthens Xi by adopting only third official resolution on history

After Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, Xi Jinping has become only the third leader in Chinese Communist Party’s history to orchestrate a so-called Resolution on History. The politically important document was passed this week at the Sixth Plenum in Beijing, a four-day closed-door meeting of the most powerful party leaders. The move officially marks the end of the Deng era and the beginning of the “new era” under Xi Jinping’s rule. 

The resolution is firstly an epilogue to conclude the last century of the Party’s history: Achievements are highlighted and homage is paid to past leaders from Mao to Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao. The word “Questions” present in the titles of the last two documents is absent in the present piece suggesting that the party’s past is not the focus. The Deng era, known for its growth-focused policies and institutions installed to avoid Maoist dictatorships, while  officially given closure, was nevertheless given credit for China’s success today.  

Secondly, the resolution is a prologue for Xi to set himself apart from his predecessors and chart his vision and direction for China. The communique published on the last day of the plenum outlined how Xi has put forward a series of original new ideas and strategies on governance. State media and Communist Party mouthpieces also heaped accolades on Xi, calling him a man who “dares to innovate” and one with a “forward-looking vision”.  

MERICS Analysis: “The resolution is a supremely important party document that is drafted and finalized via consensus,” said Valarie Tan, MERICS Analyst. “It will be an important tool for Xi to pre-empt his critics and any possible opponents who might question his authority and policies. In other words, the resolution consolidates Xi’s power at the pinnacle of the CCP and smoothens the path for him to seek a third term as the Party’s General-Secretary at the 20th Party Congress in fall next year.” 

More on the topic: Valarie Tan summarizes the significance of this year’s 6th plenum ahead of next year’s 20th Party Congress in a short analysis. Also, check out the timeline of the 19th CCP Central Committee’s plenums and our interactive calendar of party and state meetings, which we’ll continuously update for upcoming events. 

Media coverage and sources: 


53 million

The number of users that will be affected by the partial withdrawal of LinkedIn from China to avoid new pitfalls of running a social-networking platform there. Due to mounting challenges posed by new regulations like the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), LinkedIn China 领英 (Ling Ying) will end user-generated content – although it is planning to launch a jobs site called InJobs. (Sources: Economist, Forbes)