China Leadership Monitor

Leadership Presses Party Unity in Time of Economic Stress

Friday, May 8, 2009

Prominently publicized criticism sessions of the Party’s supreme political and military decision-making bodies in January capped a six-month study campaign to enforce Party discipline at national and provincial levels behind the policies of the collective leadership around General Secretary Hu Jintao. The campaign was launched in September 2008 to re-study the “scientific development concept,” which had been endorsed at the 17th Party Congress as a key element in the Party’s overarching ideological framework. As China’s economic growth sagged under the impact of the world financial downturn, however, the campaign subsequently shifted focus to stress the priority of Party unity behind the Hu leadership, apparently in an effort to squelch intra-Party debate and splits as tensions in China’s society sharpened from the economic crisis.