Xi Jinping looks to protect his political future by redefining what happened in China

An important meeting of the ruling Communist Party on Thursday approved an extraordinary "historic" decision that could help the Chinese leader

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Chinese President Xi Jinping wants to control the future of his country. To do that, it puts a completely new spin on its past.

The ruling Communist Party welcomed a landmark decision in its history and benefits on Thursday, according to the official Xinhua news agency, placing Xi next to Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping as the only leaders in the party's 100-year history.

Experts say the "historic decision" will pave the way for Xi, 68, to defend a third term in office next year - and likely to rule China for the rest of his life.

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The move comes at the end of the sixth red-hot meeting of the party's Executive Committee, a party made up of more than 300 senior men. The last big meeting before the party conference next year where a decision will be made about Xi's future.

He is only the third leader to have a historic decision adopted during his presidency, after Mao and Deng.

Xi's political philosophy - called "Xi Jinping Thought" - is already integrated into Chinese society, and is being added to textbooks from elementary school to college. The historic decision will once again establish his own leadership as a defining feature of Chinese politics for years and perhaps decades to come.

The decision will be "Xi's attempt to further consolidate his power and define his legacy in the history of the party," said Jinghan Zeng, a Chinese professor and professor of international studies at Lancaster University in Britain ahead of the plenum.

In the weeks leading up to the convention, Xi's commendation to the media was more successful than usual. A comment by People's Daily, the party's leading newspaper, called the leadership "a very serious one in dealing with major historical events and trials." Defending Xi's "key position" and the authority of the whole party, he said, "are the key guarantees of a new victory" in China's modern-day campaign.

Mao Zedong is reviewing the "Cultural Revolution" army at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in August. 18, 1966.

Mao Zedong reviews the "Cultural Revolution" army in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in August. 18, 1966. Hulton Deutsch / Corbis via Getty Images

Mao and Deng both used their historical decisions to criticize what had happened before: Mao, in 1945, confirming his rule as emperor at the birth of Communist China, and Deng, in 1981, critically criticizing Mao's mistakes and paving the way for economic liberation. . But Xi's decision is expected to be more about honoring what the Chinese media have called "the great success and historical knowledge" of the 100-year-old party empire - and in addition to the last ten years in power.

That includes the Mao era, which Xi has previously defended despite millions starving to death at the Great Leap Forward, Mao's vicious efforts to liberate Chinese society in the late 1950's and early 1960s, and the brutal cleansing of the 1966- 1976 Cultural Revolution.

Farming by Chinese farmers.

Chinese farmers on a community farm in the 1950s. The Universal Images Group with Getty Images

Along with Mao and Deng, Xi has placed himself among the most powerful leaders in post-revolutionary Chinese history. The removal of the two-term presidential term in 2018 has successfully allowed him to remain in office permanently.

Whether that will actually happen will be decided next year at a party conference, a two-tenth annual event in which China's top leaders are nominated. Between those circles, the group holds seven plenums, each with its own theme.

CHINA-BEIJING-XI JINPING-110th Aniversary-REVOLUTION OF 1911 (CN)

Xi Jinping led events to mark the 110th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution in Beijing earlier this year. Xinhua News Agency / Xinhua News Agency by Getty Stop

In theory, these times are an opportunity for the Politburo Standing Committee, the most powerful party body, to propose new policies that need to be reviewed. In fact, during the reign of the powerful man Xi, they allowed the president to "assert" while only creating "public deception of corporate governance," according to a forum for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank based in Washington. .

"Six applications are usually not the most important annual meetings of the Communist Party," said Steve Tsang, a professor and director of the China Institute at SOAS University of London. "But this sixth plenum is very important."

"The only thing that can stop Xi now is resistance within the team, if he stumbles or makes another big mistake," he said.

These plans come in the midst of China's growing power worldwide. The country is expected to be the largest economy in the world in a decade. Its use of coal will determine the global war on climate change. And it remains locked with the United States in disputes over everything from trade and intellectual property to human rights and the state of Taiwan.

And with Xi in charge, China has grown exponentially, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's annual index.