BEIJING (AP) — The overarching theme emerging from China’s ongoing Communist Party Congress is continuity, not change.
A week-long conference held on Sunday reappointed Xi Jinping as leader and reaffirmed his commitment to his policies for the next five years, reaffirming his position as one of the most powerful leaders in China’s modern history. It is possible that his position will be further enhanced.
Let’s take a look at what happened so far and what’s to come.
more of the same
This is not an inflection point for the party. That happened a decade ago when he named Xi as leader, but it wasn’t obvious at the time.
Since then, President Xi has changed China’s course domestically and internationally. The military claims disputed territory, but diplomats insist China won’t be bullied by the United States or others.
Xi has restored stronger state control over the economy and society and has expanded censorship and arrests to stifle dissent. An unprecedented crackdown on corruption has ousted hundreds of high-ranking officials, including potential political rivals.
What remains here is the message of the 1-hour, 45-minute party report that President Xi submitted to Sunday’s opening ceremony, praising the party’s efforts toward what he called a “rebirth” of the nation. .
Xi has already wiped out its competitors and strengthened its power. The question is if and how he gains more power.
In fact, he is responsible for military, foreign policy, economic, and most other issues through a series of party working groups led by him.
Symbolically, his ideology, known as Xi Jinping Thought, was enshrined in the party congress at the last party congress in 2017.
Another amendment to the constitution is on the parliamentary agenda this week. Details were not disclosed, but analysts say it could further boost his status within the party.
The Communist Party customarily announces its supreme leader for the next five years the day after parliament closes, and the small group nominated to the Politburo Standing Committee was only identified when they appeared on stage. .
Xi is widely expected to come to the top after serving three five-year terms. This eliminates the tacit agreement that the party leader will resign after his second term.
Other members nominated to the Standing Committee, which currently has seven members, may offer clues to Xi’s future and policy direction.
He is expected to stack Loyalists on the committee. Analysts believe the slowdown in China’s economy may force him to curb his enthusiasm for the state-owned economy and include supporters of a more market-oriented approach.
The failure to elect a successor to the current Standing Committee in 2017 indicates that Mr. Xi is eyeing a third term. Doing so again suggests he is planning an even longer stay.
wait for the weekend
Most of this week’s sessions will be behind closed doors, so we won’t know until the weekend. Constitutional amendments were usually announced at the closing ceremony on Saturday, with new leaders marching on Sunday.
New coronavirus zero blues
For many Chinese, weary of the pandemic restrictions that have disrupted their lives and economy, the more pressing question is whether there will be any easing after the party convention.
The answer will probably not be immediately, but gradually if changes occur.
The Communist Party has always aspired to portray the country positively and avoid social turmoil around parliament – and the massive COVID-19 outbreak is one of them.
But even after Congress, it remains uncertain how far COVID-19 will spread if travel and other restrictions are eased, leaving party officials cautious about opening up.
In addition, there is always one more major event to worry about. As a follow-up to the party congress, China’s parliament will meet next year, possibly he in March. Many Chinese are preparing to go into hiding, at least until then.
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