China’s five-year Communist Party Congress will end on Saturday, with President Xi Jinping likely to seal a norm-breaking third term in power.
The closing ceremony at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People tops a week of massive rubber-stamp meetings between 2,300 party representatives who will approve a reshuffle of the party’s top leadership, which is likely to be scheduled well in advance. Chances are.
Xi is widely expected to be unveiled as general secretary on Sunday, shortly after the first meeting of the newly-elected Central Committee, a 200-member body of the party’s most senior officials.
It would allow Xi to run for a third term as China’s president, due to be announced during the government’s annual legislative session in March.
Xi had earlier ended the president’s two-term limit in 2018, paving the way for him to rule indefinitely.
The new central committee over the weekend will approve a reshuffle of the 25-member politburo as well as about seven people in the politburo standings – China’s top of power – which analysts expect to be filled with Xi aides.
At Sunday’s congressional opening ceremony, Xi delivered a 105-minute “work report” lauding the party’s achievements and highlighting domestic problems such as the stalled economy and the damage caused by his rigorous zero-Covid policy.
Heavy on ideological rhetoric and light on policy, a defiant Xi urged members of the Communist Party to reinvent themselves against a range of challenges, including a tight geopolitical environment.
“We must be prepared to face strong winds, early water and even dangerous storms,” he said.
“Faced with drastic changes in the international landscape, in particular external efforts to blackmail, prevent, (and) blockade … China, we have put our national interests first.”
Security was also the main focus of the speech, with Xi lauding Hong Kong’s transition from “anarchy to regime” and “committing never to abandon the use of force” to seize the self-governing island of Taiwan. swore off.
The Action Report is “a carefully written drama through which to elevate and elevate the power of the party, its leader and its ideas”, wrote David Bandursky, editor of the China Media Project at the University of Hong Kong.
– Power Grab –
This week Congress is likely to further cement Xi’s position as China’s most powerful leader after Mao Zedong, with analysts predicting he is certain to be reappointed for a third term in power.
But some key questions remain unresolved, including whether 69-year-old Xi will appoint a potential successor to the Politburo Standing Committee and whether a falsification of his signature political philosophy will be contained in the charter of the 96-million-strong party.
Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute at the University of London, said the latter would make Xi Jinping Thought “the latest, 21st-century rendering of Marxism (and) China’s state ideology”.
“Xi’s power will be the same as that of China’s dictator, and there will be no room for anyone to advise him to attempt course correction,” Tsang told AFP.
“This will increase the risk of policy mistakes, because everything will depend on Xi being right.”
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)