ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Everything in a Name

Everything in a Name GPD The 14th congress of the Chinese Communist Party had been billed as the congress of reform and change. It has been nothing of the sort. The congress has merely decided to carry out a plan of action which had been approved as far back as at the 1978 plenum of the 11th central committee of the CPC NEARLY 2,000 delegates attended the 14th national congress of the Communist Party of China which opened on Monday, October 12. So much has been written on the congress already that there is some point in writing rather late on it. One advantage of doing so is that one then knows what one should not and need not say about the congress. The Chinese themselves must have partially expected that some profound things would be said about the congress, making it 'new' and 'path-breaking' and things like that. They, therefore, went out of their way to put the congress firmly within the context of the history of the Chinese Communist Party. The New China News Agency (NCNA) issued a backgrounder which listed all the 13 congresses of the CPC (see the table). It gave the number of delegates and membership figures of the different congresses. Even the 1969 congress was not left out of the reckoning. Only it was described as having been "held...during the chaotic cultural revolution"! The 14th congress was thus projected as more of a continuity than a change. From Deng down to the backroom-boys of the NCNA, the Communist Party which held its congress in Shanghai in 1921, in Yanan in 1945 and in Beijing in 1969 is the same as the one ruling China today. There may be doubts and questions in everybody's mind. But there are none as far as Deng Xiaoping, Li Peng, Jiang Zimin, Zhao Ziyang and others are concerned. For them it is the same party. Their sense of history is comparable to the late Dange's sense of history. The not-so- fiery Indian CPI leader proudly claimed till his very last breath that the CPSU was and is Lenin's party. The NCNA also thinks so. It makes a mention that the first congress in 1921 was attended, among others, by Mao Zedong.

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