As China’s Troubles Simmer, Xi Reinforces His Political Firewall

.With China mired in a trade war, economic slowdown and Hong Kong unrest, Xi Jinping will use an elite meeting to focus more on increasing his control over the Communist Party.

The New York Times
Date: Oct. 28, 2019
By: Chris Buckley

BEIJING — Slowing economic growth. A rancorous trade war. Recalcitrant protesters in Hong Kong. A mass die-off of pigs and surging food prices. The frustrations are piling up for China’s leader, Xi Jinping.

But a gathering of the Communist Party elite this week will grapple with lurking risks that worry him more: dysfunction, divisions and disloyalty in the party.

Communist Party rule could eventually crumble if the party fails to constantly reinforce its grip on China, Mr. Xi said in a recently published speech, citing ancient emperors whose dynasties rotted from corruption, lax discipline and infighting. The Central Committee, a party conclave of about 370 senior officials, began meeting in Beijing for four days on Monday to approve policies intended to ward off such dangers.

“From ancient times to the present, whenever great powers have collapsed or decayed, a common cause has been the loss of central authority,” Mr. Xi said in the speech, which was given early last year but not issued till this month in a leading party journal, Qiushi.

“As I see it, we can be defeated only by ourselves,” he said. “Prevent strife starting from inside the family home.”

Mr. Xi has warned this year that China must prepare for “struggle,” an ominous term for domestic and external challenges, and has described his goal as building an authoritarian fortress against any shocks. The meeting this week, also called the plenum, will push efforts to sharpen China’s political defenses, likely including greater use of advanced technology to monitor and manage officials and citizens.    [FULL  STORY]