The Chinese dream has lead in the wing

Here comes the time of crazy rumours. Three weeks from the 20 e Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Indian and American Pekinologists assured it: President Xi Jinping was the victim of a military coup. This is evidenced by the suspension of flights over Beijing, as usual since the appearance of the Covid, a 60-kilometer column of tanks heading for the capital, but dated 2021, and a Xi Jinping invisible since his first trip to abroad, at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Uzbekistan. The fake news, coming from networks dissident or close to the Falun Gong sect and broadcast on Twitter, says a lot about the permeability of China observers to this type of information. The periods preceding the congresses traditionally give rise to speculation on the wars of influence within the Chinese power. Only the composition of the political office and its permanent committee decided during the Congress will allow a closer look at the management of these balances by the Chinese power.

A large-scale transparency campaign

Some 2,296 delegates are meeting, starting on October 16, to validate the major political and economic orientations for the next five years as part of the 20 e CPC Congress. For the first time since the death of Mao Zedong in 1976, President Xi Jinping should be reappointed for a third term, the limitation of the exercise of power to ten years, provided for by the Constitution since Deng Xiaoping, for the sake of collegiality , having been abolished in 2018.

The state of crisis in which the current president recovered the party in 2012 and the discredit that hit him because of the high level of corruption, which generates social inequalities, forced a campaign of transparency on a large scale. In ten years, however, despite strong demand from society, the fight against « luxury, formalism and bureaucracy,” including within the People’s Liberation Army perceived as a state within a state, has increasingly been « equated to settling political accounts »notes Barthélémy Courmont, teacher-researcher at the Catholic University of Lille.

Prevent the formation of local opposition forces

So much so that the main factions of the party (the Shanghainese, the Red Princes and the Youth League) have lost their luster and their ability to influence and organize. Within the provinces, Xi Jinping placed relatives in order to prevent the formation of local counter-powers. In August, an article by Xinhua welcomed the removal of » poison « embodied by these political cliques. From abroad, some dissidents however evoke the questioning of the president at the heart of the PCC, in particular among the supporters – of “left” and “right” – of the line of reform and opening of the ex-president Deng Xiaoping, who came to correct the Maoist line in her time. This is the case of Cai Xia, professor at the Central Party School until 2020, who questioned the current concentration of powers. « Thanked », she is now in exile in the United States. According to her, « Xi Jinping is being questioned like never before. »

A constant increase in the standard of living

While the party is haunted by the specter of decadence, with consequences that are difficult to measure for a country the size of China, Xi Jinping’s practice of power is inspired by the “consultative Leninism” described by sinologist Richard Baum. In the face of challenges posed by the United States in terms of strategic and military rivalry in order to contain the rise of Chinese power, the presidency of Xi Jinping has also exalted nationalism. If the orientation enjoys strong popular support, it is also because it is accompanied by respect for the social contract that binds the CCP to the population, namely a constant increase in the standard of living – the « common prosperity » – as a guarantee of political stability. » We will never allow the nation to change color”, insisted, on August 16, Xi Jinping in Liaoning (Northeast), during a trip devoted to development. Proof that the two subjects are intimately linked. In forty years, 800 million Chinese have lifted themselves out of poverty, allowing the President to announce, at the start of 2021: “Thanks to the common efforts of the people and the party (…), our country has won a global victory in the fight against poverty. (…) Nearly 100 million rural people, 128,000 villages in 832 counties have emerged from extreme poverty. (…)It is a human miracle that history will remember. » No country can indeed boast of such a performance in such a short time.

A risk of the real estate bubble bursting

However, times were fraught with tension. The context has changed completely since the appointment of Xi Jinping in 2012. The « red prince », a term that refers to the descendants of senior Chinese leaders, is now facing slow growth (with a forecast of 2 .8% against 5% in April), high youth unemployment (19.6%) and the risk of the real estate bubble bursting. China does not intend to deny its zero Covid policy, which directly engages Xi Jinping, and the signals are turning red. The « Chinese dream » has lead in the wing. This is also the case on the international scene. Over the past three years, the crackdown on protests in Hong Kong, the UN’s denunciation of « crimes against humanity » against the Uyghur minority in Xinjiang and the management of the pandemic have heightened tensions with foreign powers and tarnished the image of China beyond its borders. The war in Ukraine has forced China to review the map of the silk trade routes, which ensure outlets and influence in the countries they cross.

A trade war led by the United States

Congress will decide the nature of “reform” and “openness” for the years to come. On September 6, the Commission for the Deepening of Comprehensive Reforms stressed the need to strengthen technological independence as the trade war waged by the United States and its allies deprives China of essential components such as microchips made in Taiwan. . An obstruction that hinders the move upmarket of its development and could delay the overtaking of the United States.


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