By Ian Johnson
A plenary meeting of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was held in Beijing. Plenums are large annual meetings held by the CCP that set agendas and policy for the coming year. This year is especially important because the next party convention will take place in 2022, which is held only once every five years. During the convention, officials will almost certainly grant President Xi Jinping an unprecedented third term. (In recent decades, top leaders have only held two terms. Xi's term is due to expire next year.)
The 6th Plenum of the 19th CPC Central Committee adopted a historic resolution that, in fact, legitimizes Xi's third term. The rationale, according to a communiqué from the state news agency Xinhua, is that China is facing "global change on a scale unseen in a century," and therefore needs a strong leader to see it through. The communiqué also states that Xi is now officially the founder of the third era of China's communist history. The first was the era of Mao Zedong, which lasted from the country's founding in 1949 until Mao's death in 1976. The second was the era of reforms by Deng Xiaoping and his carefully selected successors, which lasted from about 1978 to 2012. a new era of a stronger China - a real superpower. According to the state media before the plenum, "every social era needs its own great people, and if there are no such people, it creates them." C is that person.