Communist Party calls congress with Xi Jinping’s future on the menu

Communist Party calls congress with Xi Jinping's future on the menu

During the previous congress in 2017, Xi Jinping amended the Constitution by removing the limit of two presidential terms. He can therefore in theory preside over the People’s Republic for life.

The Chinese Communist Party will hold its congress on Oct. 16, state media reported on Tuesday (August 30). A decisive meeting which should enable the President Xi Jinping to snatch an unprecedented third term at the head of China.

Barring a dramatic change, Xi Jinping should become the first president on this occasion to remain in power for a third coronation at the head of the most populous country on the planet.

Consolidate your power

At the previous congress in 2017, the strong man from Beijing brought in his “thoughtin the founding documents of the Party. A few months later, the Constitution was amended to remove the limit of two presidential terms. Xi Jinping can therefore in theory preside over the People’s Republic for life.

This congress, the 20th since the creation of the CPC in 1921, should also lead to a broad recomposition of the Standing Committee of the Politburo, the all-powerful body of seven members which holds the reality of power in China. According to unwritten traditions, part of the current members of the ruling coven reach the age at which they are supposed to retire.

With 2,300 delegates, the general assembly of the PCC will be held at “a key moment when the entire Party and all ethnic groups in the country are engaged in building a modern socialist country“, underlined Tuesday the public television CCTV. While the communist regime gives the appearance of unity, behind the scenes rivalries are rife and the president is still seeking to consolidate his power, analysts say.

Tensions and difficulties

Since Xi Jinping took over as Party-state leader in late 2012, more than 1.5 million cadres have been punished as part of a sweeping anti-corruption campaign, according to official figures dating back to several years. The Chinese number one has long been suspected of using this campaign to attack his internal opposition.

The Party Congress will open at a time when China is facing many difficulties. After years of frantic development, the Asian giant is now facing a sharp slowdown in its growth. And unemployment has risen sharply among 16-24 year olds (nearly 20%). However, the Party derives its main legitimacy from the increase in the purchasing power of the population.

Points of contention

The zero Covid strategy, defended tooth and nail by President Xi, is also increasingly contested by the general public and especially the business community, who are alarmed at the threats that confinements pose to activity. The authorities decree localized confinements, impose in certain places PCR tests every 72 or even 48 hours and pose the risk of quarantine on any traveler going to another province.

Internationally, points of contention have also multiplied between Xi Jinping’s China and the great American rival: trade and technology, the fate of the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang, repression in Hong Kong but also tensions around Taiwan. China thus carried out at the beginning of August unprecedented military maneuvers in their scale near this island on which Beijing claims sovereignty. A message of firmness addressed to Washington after the visit deemed provocative to Taiwan by the American number three Nancy Pelosi.

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