Wide-ranging changes likely as China gears for Communist party congress

Updated on Oct 17, 2017 05:36 PM IST
President Xi Jinping is expected to consolidate his powers but new leaders will be inducted in CPC’s elite bodies.
Staff members of the Huaibei Mining Group dressed in Red Army uniforms perform to welcome the upcoming 19th Party Congress in Huaibei in China's eastern Anhui province.(AFP)
Staff members of the Huaibei Mining Group dressed in Red Army uniforms perform to welcome the upcoming 19th Party Congress in Huaibei in China's eastern Anhui province.(AFP)
Hindustan Times, Beijing | BySutirtho Patranobis, Beijing

Wide-ranging changes in the Communist Party of China’s leadership and a renewed thrust on economic development are expected when more than 2,200 top party members gather for a key once-in-five years meeting in Beijing on Wednesday.

The congress will go on for seven days till October 24, according to Tuo Zhen, the spokesperson for the 19th National Congress and senior propaganda department official.

President Xi Jinping is expected to consolidate his powers but new leaders will be inducted in CPC’s elite bodies including the central committee, politburo and the PB standing committee, the most powerful decision-making group in the CPC.

Senior officers are expected to be replaced in the Central Military Commission, which controls the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), at the 19th CPC congress.

Xi, who will present a work report to the congress on his five years in office, is expected to solidify his hold in the party and the government; he is already the CPC general secretary and the CMC chairperson besides heading the group on the economy, national security and is also designated the “core” of the party.

Not only is his political doctrine or “concepts, thoughts and strategies” are expected to be embedded in an amended CPC charter, Xi is expected to fill up many top posts – including in the CMC – with people close to him.

Though the event will be closely tracked, procedures remain shrouded in secrecy.

China-watchers worldwide will look for changes in policies and whether the next generation of leaders – who would normally take over in 2022 at the end of Xi’s 10-year-term – would be unveiled at the end of the Congress.

Whether Xi will indicate a successor remains an aspect of the congress under sharp focus.

It is widely believed that intense backroom negotiations were carried out to fill up the posts that will become vacant – either because incumbents have retired or were sidelined or punished because of Xi’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign.

“I expect the focus for next term/leadership will be ‘the realisation of the first 100 years’ (of the CPC) with priority on economic development and livelihood improvement. This is because of the big losses in the anti-corruption campaign in last five years and with emerging economy problems,” said Zhang Lifan, a Beijing-based political commentator and historian.

“If the economy cannot be improved, Xi will be viewed as ‘incompetent’ which will make thing much harder for his third term,” Zhang said.

Kerry Brown, professor of Chinese Studies and Director of the Lau China Institute, King's College in London spoke to HT about the expected changes. “Among the changes expected are personnel changes which will give some idea of whether Xi Jinping will be an increasingly autocratic leader (if the figures are very closely associated with him) or whether promotion is more about experience and therefore serving the mission of making a strong sustainable one-party system,” Brown said.

The other change will be in policy.

“Will the CPC issue some new ideological formula that will link with the China Dream, the creation of a more equitable society which the party serves, and the role of the market and its links to the need for accelerated, controlled reform under the state,” Brown added.

“Xi has been very successful in securing the control of the CPC via the leading small groups, the inspection and discipline commission and personnel departments. The anti-corruption campaign has affected broad swathes of the CPC membership and the factional balance is now tilted unequivocally in Xi’s favour,” said Jonathan Sullivan, director China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham.

It is all but given that Xi will emerge a stronger leader at the end of the 19th Congress.

“A strong Xi at least means predictable China – but also a China that will demand a relationship with the outside world on its own terms,” Brown added.

Close Story

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Representative image. 

    Evening brief: DGCA issues guidelines to all airports after bird-hit incidents

    Here are today's top news, analysis, and opinion. Read More Why China shields Pak based terrorists from global terrorist tag? Chinese indifference to Indian national security concerns were reiterated at the UN Security Council this month when it put a hold on listing Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)'s de facto leader Abdul Rauf Asghar Alvi, younger brother of global terrorist Masood Azhar Alvi, on the 1267 Taliban and Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee list.

  • India on Friday rejected China’s insinuations that New Delhi pressured Colombo to block a Chinese research vessel’s visit to Hambantota port and emphasised the need for mutual respect and sensitivity in India-China relations. (AFP)

    Sri Lanka allows entry for controversial Chinese ship despite India's concerns

    Sri Lanka's government granted permission on Saturday for a controversial Chinese research vessel to visit the island despite neighbouring India's concerns that it could spy on New Delhi's military installations, officials said. The Yuan Wang 5 is described as a research and survey vessel by international shipping and analytics sites, but according to Indian media it is a dual-use spy ship.

  • Conservative leadership candidate Liz Truss. (REUTERS/Scott Heppell)

    UK PM race: Cabinet minister switches sides from Rishi Sunak to Liz Truss

    The defection comes on the back of surveys that show Liz Truss in a clear lead over her British Indian contender in the race to succeed Boris Johnson as Tory leader and Prime Minister. During such leadership contests, members of Parliament often pick their endorsements with an eye on a ministerial post in the new leader’s Cabinet.

  • Taliban fighters walk as they fire in air to disperse Afghan women protesters in Kabul on Saturday, August 13, 2022. (Photo by Wakil KOHSAR/AFP)

    Taliban fighters break women's stir by beating protesters, journalists: Report

    Despite promising a softer version of their rigid rule during the 1990s, Taliban have imposed several restrictions, especially on women's rights, ever since it came to power last year on August 15. Thousands of young girls have been out of secondary schools as they continue to remain shut, while many women have been prohibited from returning to several government jobs.

  • A newspaper announcing that the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) will conduct military exercises and training activities including live-fire drills in response to US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, at a newsstand in Beijing, China. (REUTERS/ FILE)

    China sanctions Lithuanian minister over Taiwan visit

    China on Friday sanctioned Lithuanian deputy minister for transport and communication Agne Vaiciukeviciute over a Vaiciukeviciute's visit to Taiwan, the latest development in the ongoing diplomatic spat between Beijing and the Baltic state over its support for Taipei. “The visit tramples on the one-China principle, seriously interferes in China's internal affairs, and undermines China's sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday night.

Story Saved
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, August 13, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now