China to hold 20th Communist party congress from Oct 16 as Xi Jinping primed to secure third term

Updated on Aug 30, 2022 06:35 PM IST

The congress, the most important political event in China this year, will be attended by about 2,300 delegates from across the country

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves during a press event to introduce the new members of the Chinese politburo at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 25, 2017. (AP)
Chinese President Xi Jinping waves during a press event to introduce the new members of the Chinese politburo at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 25, 2017. (AP)

BEIJING: The ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) will hold its twice-a-decade congress beginning October 16, official media announced on Tuesday with President Xi Jinping primed to secure an unprecedented third term as the country’s leader.

The date of the all-important, closed-door, meeting to be held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing was announced by the CPC’s Politburo, one of the top decision-making bodies, after a meeting on Tuesday.

Typically, the congress will likely be held for a week at the conclusion of which the CPC’s new leadership - the CPC Politburo’s Standing Committee (SC) - is unveiled with the new members presenting themselves to national and international media at the Great Hall of the People.

The congress, the most important political event in China this year, will be attended by about 2,300 delegates from across the country.

Xi, 69, who is, most importantly, the CPC general secretary, is poised to reemerge at the end of the congress as China’s top leader, at least, for the next five years after the party did away with the two-term policy, proposed at the last Communist party congress in 2017, and then confirmed in March 2018.

Key focus will be on the new line-up of leaders and the number of top leaders in the Standing Committee, which currently comprises seven members, led by Xi; little or no change is expected in matters of domestic and foreign policy.

Since taking over in 2012, Xi has consolidated his position as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, purging factional opposition, and stamping his authority with policy campaigns including the anti-corruption drive domestically, and the Belt and Road Initiative globally.

Xi is also the head of the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) and is referred to as the “core” of the party.

Xi is likely to cruise into his third term despite several headwinds China is facing including a sagging economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, and lately by the country’s worst drought in decades, besides facing strong international criticism over Taiwan, Hong Kong and the treatment of minorities in Tibet and Xinjiang.

The CPC under Xi has not only become more assertive on the global stage, belligerently taking on the US in geopolitics, but has also stamped out voices of dissent within the country.

The congress will be preceded by the seventh plenary session of the current 19th CPC Central Committee, which will be convened on October 9 in Beijing.

“The congress will take stock of the party’s work over the past five years, as well as major achievements and valuable experience of the party’s central committee with comrade Xi Jinping at its core in uniting and leading the whole party and Chinese people of all ethnic groups to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era,” the official news agency, Xinhua said in a report on Tuesday meeting.

“A new CPC central committee and a new CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection will be elected at the congress,” the report added.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

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