The Japanese Communist Party has moved to distance itself from its erstwhile ideological ally in Beijing, criticising the Chinese Communist Party ’s “great-power chauvinism” and accusing it of committing human rights abuses and being a threat to regional peace. The JCP used its five-day convention in Atami, southwest of Tokyo, to redraw its party platform for the first time in 16 years, with the changes designed to differentiate it from the Chinese party. The revised platform, unveiled on Saturday, is predictably critical of the present Japanese government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe but attracted attention for its strongly worded condemnation of the CCP. The position paper said China ’s “great-power chauvinism and hegemonism” relating to its activities in the East China Sea and South China Sea , as well as in other parts of the Asia-Pacific region, have become “an adverse current to world peace and progress”. Kazuo Shii, the head of the party, addressed the convention on this issue. “The Chinese leadership’s mistake is extremely serious. That action does not deserve the name of the Communist Party,” he said. The party also deleted a passage in its manifesto since 2004 which described China as a country “that is beginning a new quest for socialism”. Party members said the section was erased as a result of human rights violations by the Chinese government. An analyst said the two parties have been diverging in many of their key principles for more than 20 years but the JCP is keen to make a clear distinction between its own policies and those of the CCP ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping ’s state visit to Japan, which is expected to take place this spring. “The JCP has not really depended [ideologically] on the CCP for 30 years now, but the timing of this development is very interesting,” said Tomohito Shinoda, an associate professor of political science at the International University of Japan. “If we think back to the 1970s, when Japan and China were negotiating the normalisation of their diplomatic relations, the anti-hegemony clause was one of the biggest demands that Beijing made of Tokyo,” he said. “Now, that has been turned on its head and we see China pursuing that very same hegemony, and that is reflected in the JCP’s decision.” The JCP has been particularly offended by the Chinese party’s violation of human rights among its ethnic minorities, Shinoda said, referring to the detention and re-education of over 1 million Muslim people in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, which Beijing says are anti-terrorism efforts. China’s Uygur policy, human rights defended by Wang Yi “They want to distance themselves from the CCP ahead of Xi’s visit and they want to make it clear they do not welcome or support the Chinese leader,” he said. The party convention accused Abe of overseeing Japan’s “worst-ever political tyranny” and demanded that he not be permitted to remain in office. To achieve that aim, the party underlined its commitment to working with other opposition parties to form a coalition to overthrow the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, something it has avoided in the past. Among the policies that the party confirmed were the conclusion of the long-standing security treaty with the United States and the dissolution of Japan’s Self-Defence Forces. The JCP also intends to scrap all nuclear power plants as soon as it is elected and to create a “gender-equal society”. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the accusations of the Japanese Communist Party were “groundless and biased”. It called on Japan to take an “objective view of China’s development, and put positive energy into developing the relationship between China and Japan and the two political parties”. Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.