What to remember from the CCP, at the dawn of a 3rd term for Xi Jinping

At the dawn of a third term for President Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) ended this Saturday, October 22 in Beijing. This congress, the 20th since the creation of the CCP in 1921, occurs in a delicate context for China, faced with a slowdown in its growth due to repeated confinements and diplomatic tensions with the West. For the past week, some 2,300 delegates chosen by the various Party authorities have met behind closed doors in Beijing. On the agenda: the reshuffling of the party’s leadership team, and therefore of the world’s second largest economy, and the country’s future directions.

Here are the CCP’s four takeaways.

1) The “central” role of Xi Jinping integrated into the charter

The charter of CCP reaffirms Comrade Xi Jinping’s “central role in the Party Central Committee and the Party as a whole”.

The party’s 97 million or so members will all have to “achieve a high level of understanding” of the essential role of the general secretary and defend it, according to the resolution adopted unanimously on the last day of the congress. Even if the 69-year-old president had already been described as the “hard core” of the party in the 2017 charter, the amended version on Saturday refers to it at greater length, and in even more respectful terms. This could indicate a strengthening of Xi Jinping’s power at the top of the party and therefore of his country.

In 2017, the charter of CCP included a reference to “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, a statement later added to the Constitution in 2018. Many analysts expected this phrase to be shortened to “Xi Jinping Thought Jinping”, which according to the specialized firm Trivium China would have raised “his status and his ideology to the same level as Mao Tse-tung”, the founder of the regime (1949-76).

Finally, Saturday’s resolution keeps the formula unchanged. But she insists on the importance of “contemporary China and 21st century Marxism”, because it “embodies the best of Chinese culture and ethics of this time”.

2) Composition of the new Central Committee

The composition of the new Central Committee, a sort of “parliament” internal to the party, has been unveiled. Four sizes of CCP including the current Prime Minister Li Keqiang – who will leave office next March – no longer appear on the list published by the official news agency China news. Chinese number three Li Zhanshu, Vice Premier Han Zheng and Wang Yang, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (an assembly without decision-making power), are also bowing out.

Considered one of the most liberal voices in the Party, Wang Yang was a favorite as the next prime minister.

According to AFP calculations, this new Central Committee is 65% overhauled compared to the previous version of 2017. This group of 205 people, including only 11 women, a long list on state television, must meet Sunday for the first time. It will designate the 25 members of the decision-making body of the CCP (the Political Bureau) as well as its Standing Committee. This all-powerful, seven-member body currently holds the real power in China.

3) Taiwan warned

The subject appears for the first time in the party charter without any ambiguity: the refusal of any independence project for Taiwan, which Beijing considers to be part of its territory. The congress “agrees to include in the party charter statements on … resolute opposition and deterrence of separatists seeking independence for Taiwan,” the resolution said.

The current charter only mentioned that the party would “continually work to strengthen the unity of all Chinese people, including compatriots […] Taiwan”, as part of efforts to achieve “reunification of the motherland”. The Chinese government regularly reaffirms its intention to reunite Taiwan with the rest of the country, saying it favors the peaceful way but without giving up force if necessary.

Tensions around this issue were reignited this summer with the visit to Taiwan of the number three of the United States, Nancy Pelosi. Beijing responded by launching massive military maneuvers around the island. During his speech at the opening of the congress, Xi insisted that China would “never” give up the possibility of using force to recover Taiwan.

4) Former Chinese President Hu Jintao escorted out

Former Chinese President Hu Jintao was escorted out of the closing ceremony of the Communist Party Congress on Saturday, AFP journalists noted. The highly unusual incident was not explained or reported by state media, and any recent references to his name appeared to have been censored on the Chinese internet. Appearing weakened, Hu Jintao, who served as China’s president from 2003 to 2013, was pressured by employees to get up from his seat next to Xi Jinping in the front row of the People’s Palace.

An employee tries to take the 79-year-old ex-president by the arm, but the latter refuses. The individual then tries to lift him by the armpits, but Xi Jinping’s predecessor continues to resist. Hu Jintao tries at the same time to embark documents placed on his desk, which seem to belong to the Chinese number one. Xi Jinping holds them firmly.

No official explanation was given. “It is not yet clear what caused this, whether it was to counter the power of Xi or an unpleasant moment for an elderly person”, commented Neil Thomas, analyst at the firm Eurasia Group.

“In the absence of additional information, it is difficult to draw conclusions about the relationship between this incident and Chinese politics,” said Neil Thomas. The name “Hu Jintao” appeared censored Saturday afternoon on the Weibo social network, China’s equivalent of Twitter. Only information from the day before, and from official accounts, was available.

Find our series on Xi Jinping’s China
(1/7) Economy weighed down, Covid… X-ray of Xi Jinping’s China before the Party Congress
(2/7) How the Taiwanese are preparing for the Chinese invasion
(3/7) China: “The People’s Liberation Army has major flaws”
(4/7) How Chinese Spies Rise Under Xi Jinping
(5/7) The worrying face to face Beijing-Washington
(6/7) Djibouti, revelations about the very secret Chinese military base which worries Westerners
(7/7) Russia, Saudi Arabia… Beijing’s pragmatic energy strategy

(With AFP and Reuters)


Source: www.challenges.fr

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