Xi urges Politburo to stick to party's line on socialism with Chinese characteristics
The Communist Party has recommitted itself to "socialism with Chinese characteristics", in what analysts said was an attempt to allay concerns that the party was moving to the left under the leadership of President Xi Jinping.
Speaking at a group study session held on Tuesday immediately after a four-day meeting of the all-powerful Politburo, Xi urged the 25-strong top echelon to study the history of the party and of the country in order to develop further the concept of "socialism with Chinese characteristics". The slogan and idea were introduced by late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and have market reform and opening-up at their core.
The study session, the seventh for the new Politburo under Xi's leadership, comes days before next week's 92nd anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party.
Xi has specifically hailed the party for choosing the right path under which the country has undertaken unprecedented economic development over the past three decades.
The study session also follows a flurry of initiatives launched by the new leadership in recent months that have been aimed at aligning the thoughts of party officials and consolidating Xi's power.
Beijing-based political commentator Chen Ziming noted that the reaffirmation of the party's commitment to reform and opening-up at the study session indicated a lack of consensus within the party over some of the controversial policies launched by Xi in recent months. These had sparked fears about whether Xi was steering the party towards a leftist path.
"This has also told us that there are still uncertainties over the future direction for the party and the country, which is still open to manipulation among different factions within the party," he said.
An internal party document earlier this year raised fears among liberals of a ban on the public discussion of seven topics, including press freedom and civil rights, at mainland universities schools and government-run facilities.
Renmin University political scientist Zhang Ming said that the new leadership was still in a state of drift about what policies to adopt, and this would lead to continuing uncertainty.
"The party is more inclined to push for continuing reform and opening-up [...] because it needs to first consolidate its grip on power, which is always a top priority for the party."
In a speech in January, Xi warned that discrediting late leader Mao Zedong would lead the country into turmoil.