context: Many in Party and government circles will welcome this long-awaited announcement of the actual dates for a meeting first mentioned in August. Perhaps most striking about the statement is that the delay in confirmation may have been because of continuing disagreement about the precise agenda.

Xi Jinping presided over a 24 Oct 2019 Politburo meeting that decided that the Fourth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee would be held in Beijing from 28-31 Oct 2019. Politburo members listened to a report that had solicited opinions on

  • upholding and improving the socialist system with Chinese characteristics
  • promoting modernisation of the national governance system and governance capability within and outside the Party

Members decided to modify the draft according to the opinions discussed at the meeting and submit it to the 4th Plenary Session for deliberation. The meeting held that the Party’s democracy should be fully promoted and opinions should be widely listened to. Various suggestions from representatives outside the Politburo, while fully affirming the draft, should be sorted, researched, and pooled so as to formulate an updated document.

The meeting stressed the importance of adhering to the organic unity of the Party’s leadership, and basically realising the modernisation of the national governance system and governance capacity by 2035, consolidating and fully demonstrating the socialist system with Chinese characteristics.

According to Xinhua, the meeting also pointed out that it is a major strategic task for the whole Party to adhere to and improve the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and promote modernisation. The effort must be carried out under the unified leadership of the Central Committee, with

  • scientific planning
  • careful organisation
  • short- and long-term considerations
  • overall commitment

Where the socialist system is concerned, Party committees and governments at all levels, as well as leading cadres, should

  • earnestly strengthen awareness
  • take the lead in maintaining its authority
  • set an example in implementation
  • push the whole Party and society to consciously respect it
  • strictly enact and resolutely maintain it