All eyes on Xi Jinping as China Communist Party Congress gets underway

All eyes on Xi Jinping as China Communist Party Congress gets underway

The quinquennial National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party will commence in Beijing today. During the Congress, around 370 members

China’s Communist Party Congress kicks off today with all eyes on Xi Jiping

Photo: AFP

The quinquennial National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party will commence in Beijing today. During the Congress, around 370 members of the important central committee will be elected.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to be easily re-elected as General Secretary. Jinping’s widespread anti-corruption campaign enhanced his popularity and allowed him to strengthen his position by imprisoning political rivals like former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang.

The Congress will likely stack the committee with Xi loyalists, retaining anti-corruption chief Wang Qishan and promoting Zhang Youxia to vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission. Although 69-year-old Wang is a year older than the unofficial retirement age, his likely re-election signals Xi’s willingness to sidestep established rules to consolidate his power.

Xi’s circumvention of Chinese norms is expected to lead him to remain as president past 2023, breaking the unofficial two-term limit. Xi’s abandonment of the gradual liberalisation process of the post-Mao era may allow him to consolidate power at home, but will also increase the potential for conflict in the international arena.

Delve deeper: The Chinese Communist Party Congress: Xi ascendant?

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