History is weighing heavily on a hotel in the western suburbs of Beijing this week, as the 300 members of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party chart a course for China’s next five-year political cycle.

Not least of the tasks before the ruling Communist elite will be to endorse the consolidation of Xi Jinping’s position as China’s most powerful leader, certainly since Deng Xiaoping and possibly since Mao Zedong himself.

Those deliberations will be rubber-stamped at the 20th National Party Congress to be held next year.

Over the next few days, world attention will turn towards Xi’s anointing and resolutions of this sixth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee. China scholars, intelligence analysts and diplomatic representatives will scrutinise every last word that emanates from Beijing’s propaganda machine.

History is being etched in these deliberations, which will ripple beyond China’s borders. It is hard to exaggerate the significance of these few days in Beijing, in which issues like China’s mission to achieve Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland will be canvassed.

In this centenary year of the founding of the party in Shanghai in 1921, the sixth plenum will rank with three other critical moments in Communist Party history.

These three moments include two sixth plenums. In the first in 1945, Mao vanquished his party opponents to become sole leader….

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