At the beginning of this week China’s leader Xi Jinping was not officially “at the core” of the Communist Party. Now he is. Why should that matter? Because, in China, little words have big meanings. Over four days in the Chinese capital a major political meeting has been taking place between a couple of hundred members of the Central Committee. It is known as the Plenum. Such gatherings are usually held once a year and allow the Communist Party to make policy decisions which are later shoved through the National People’s Congress for approval. At this week’s Plenum, it was pronounced that Party members should unite around the Central Committee “with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core”.
The expression is already falling off the lips of senior government officials like a religious mantra. There they were at a press conference explaining the plenum decisions and describing concepts as being in step with “socialism with Chinese characteristics” in order to boost the standing of the Communist Party “with Xi Jinping as the core”. A more mind-numbingly dull and uninformative press conference you would struggle to find, even in China. Pre-ordained questions, pre-scripted answers. Yet, even amongst the hours of dross, there was this significant new development. “Bla bla bla… Xi Jinping as the core… bla bla… with Xi Jinping at its core… bla bla… Xi Jinping: core… Xi Jinping: core”.