Chinese Communist Party Congress: Everything You Need to Know | China

On Oct. 16, the top echelons of China’s ruling Communist Party (CCP) will convene for a two-decade rally involving speeches, secret meetings and reshuffling of positions of power and committee membership.

The 20th party congress is expected to see current leader Xi Jinping reappointed for an unprecedented third term, as well as offering signs of what he intends to do with his extra time at the helm. The big questions are about key subordinate appointments, whether Xi is given even more importance within the partywhat he plans to do about China economy ravaged by zero-Covid and his promise to take control of taiwan.

What is the congress?

The congress is the most important meeting of the CPC’s five-year political cycle. It announces new promotions and key appointments, including the leader of the party, passes the assessment of the party’s progress and outlines the direction of the next cycle.

The meeting always takes place in the fall, and the relatively old date of this year’s convention indicates that major decisions have been made, and all potential disagreements or rumblings within the party have been flattened.

Who is going to the meeting?

About 2,300 senior party officials gather at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, ostensibly representing the tens of millions of party members across China. Among these are 200 elite central committee members with voting rights, plus another 170 alternates. This committee is responsible for electing the 25-member Politburo, of which the seven most powerful are appointed to the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC).

“You’re on the grand committee, and then the power comes back to you,” said Ryan Manuel, a China policy pundit based in Hong Kong. Manuel said the reshuffle was a lot like a multinational announcing a mass retirement of senior executives and the raising of junior employees to replace them, but with the new job titles postponed until the People’s Assembly. national (APN) in March.

“Once you have been reclassified in seniority, you are given a new position to reflect your new status,” Manuel said.

Everyone is ranked and Xi, as general secretary of the central committee, sits at the top of the pyramid. He also holds the titles of Chairman of the Central Military Commission and President of the People’s Republic of China. The first two are up for renewal at congress, but the title of president – which has the least power despite being the most commonly used internationally – will be up for renewal at next year’s NPC.

The General Secretary is the most important role, providing near total control of the CCP. There is a litany of other titles, some relating to specific power over various political and security bodies, and others are more symbolic. The 2016 attribution of the “leader” elevated Xi to the rank same level as former leaders Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin.

This year, analysts are eyeing one potential addition in particular – the resurrection of Mao’s title of “party chairman”. Returning the title would alter the power structure of the CCP, but also create challenges, as described by Dr. Ling Li from the University of Vienna.

Xi, center, at the 2017 party congress, where he was nominated for a second term as general secretary. Photography: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

What happens at the meeting?

The actual schedule of events is almost entirely behind closed doors. The previous congress opened by a long speech from Xioutlining the PCC’s successes and its priorities for the upcoming term.

“I think the general theme could be a general notion of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” said Victor Shih, a politics professor at the University of California, San Diego. “This… would of course have repercussions on the economy: [For this goal] China will have to continue to grow, and militarily it must grow stronger, it must be an increasingly influential power in the world.

Xi had probably hoped for complete stability and positivity across China to set the perfect stage for the congress, but that did not happen. During his second term, Xi proclaimed the eradication of extreme poverty in China, launched massive interventions on the excesses of the technology, development and education industries, essentially took control of Hong Kong, and kept the death toll from Covid-19 low. But the the economy is in troubleand the social impacts of zero-Covid caused frustration. Last month’s military exercises around Taiwan also raised domestic concerns, despite widespread support for Taiwan’s “unification”.

“We know that Xi Jinping is extremely powerful, but this year has also shown that it has vulnerabilities,” said Margaret Lewis, a law professor at Seton Hall University in the United States.

After a week of private meetings, Xi will likely deliver a closing speech and introduce the new lineup of the PSC, the exact lineup of which is only revealed when they take the stage.

Positions are usually vacant because the member has been purged for misconduct or is forced to retire under the party’s age limit law, which encourages members aged 68 and over at the time of Congress to retire. Shih said there are likely to be at least two age-related retirements from the PSC – Li Zhanshu and Han Zhang, ranked third and seventh respectively.

Why is this encounter different?

Normally, this meeting would see a smooth leadership transition since Xi stepped down at the end of his second term. But in 2018, the party suddenly announced those constitutional limits had been removedgiving Xi the ability to be what some analysts have called a “dictator for life”.

It is the linchpin of what analysts say is Xi’s consolidation of power and reverses the safeguards put in place by previous leaders to avoid repeating the cult of personality around Mao and the damage of his Cultural Revolution.

There was no public opposition to the removal of term limits, nor to Xi himself, and many of his potential opponents were purged in the extensive anti-corruption campaign of recent years. For many analysts, such as Professor Carl Minzner, senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, whether he will get a third term is already an “absolute certainty”.

“In place, [the question] how is it far he rises politically. Is he elevated to something closer to a Mao-like role in the Chinese political system, such as taking over the post of party chairman (abandoned since the early 1980s)? Minzner said.

Minzner said Xi’s anointing as party chairman “would open the door to a broader disintegration of the Chinese political system into full-fledged one-man rule.”

“If that happens, it raises the specter that all the abominable political failures that inevitably accompany such change – whether those China itself experienced under Mao during the Cultural Revolution, or Russia is experiencing today. today under Putin – could be repeated.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *