The Third Plenary Session of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Puts Politics Above Economics

According to a report by the Central News Agency on the 22nd, the article pointed out that Xi Jinping became the head of the Chinese Communist Party in 2012. At the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China held in 2013, the outside world paid attention to Xi Jinping’s economic policy direction. However, immediately after the meeting, a member of the Chinese Communist Party said that analyzing the important meeting of the Chinese Communist Party only from the perspective of economy, business, and money, or having high expectations for the meeting, would be a “big mistake.” Because the most important thing in China is not the economy, but political power.

In his article, Nakazawa Katsuji points out that the outside world has focused on the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee and related documents, which mention “allowing the market to play a decisive role in resource allocation” and allowing private enterprises to enter fields dominated by state-owned enterprises. However, in the end, the liberalization of private enterprises and market-oriented reforms were not realized or were diluted, and state-owned enterprises continued to grow under the protection of the party.

In fact, the article points out that Xi Jinping is entirely focused on accelerating the anti-corruption campaign against “tigers” and “flies” to strengthen his own power. One of the people who was ousted was Zhou Yongkang, who was a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China. This is Xi Jinping’s first major and extremely risky move to eliminate his political opponents and strengthen his power.

The article states that even senior Chinese experts, party officials and other observers were unable to see through Xi Jinping’s true intentions. Those who attended the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China could not have predicted Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign.

The article also noted that the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee discussed and passed the “Decision of the CPC Central Committee on Some Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening Reform.” Veteran Chinese intellectuals who still remember China’s reform and opening-up period in the 1980s said that by issuing this document, Xi Jinping was implicitly telling CPC members that former CPC leader Deng Xiaoping’s era of opening up had given way to his “new era.”

Xi Jinping’s new era in economics and politics began with the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee. It is now clear that China’s economic policies were reversed at that time, and Xi Jinping launched an anti-corruption campaign to centralize power. When Xi Jinping began to deviate from the path of reform and opening up, then-Premier Li Keqiang was unable to guide him.

Xi Jinping’s economic policy direction became clearer from his second term onwards, and the Chinese government began to suppress Alibaba. If the policy mentioned at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to “let the market play a decisive role in resource allocation” had been implemented, Alibaba would not have been suppressed.

The article states that with Xi Jinping now in his third term, there is no one like Li Keqiang to challenge him, nor is there an economic successor to carry on China’s long-standing reform and opening-up policies.

Nakazawa Katsuji believes that if the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China this year contains any clues indicating the direction of economic policy, important clues can only be grasped by looking at the meeting from a political perspective, rather than focusing only on the economic-related descriptions in the communique.

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