Xi cements power as Chinese Communist Party wraps up week-long meeting

China’s Communist Party wrapped up its two-decade congress on Saturday, approving amendments to its charter aimed at cementing Xi Jinping’s central status and revealing a new Central Committee lacking two key officials with no close ties to Xi.

The party’s new central committee does not include Premier Li Keqiang or Wang Yang, a sign that analysts say suggests the next Politburo standing committee, to be unveiled around noon (0400 GMT) on Sunday, should be stacked with people close to Xi. .

Li, who will step down as prime minister in March, and Wang, who heads the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, are both 67 and therefore eligible under Chinese age standards to have served five years older. to the powerful seven-member Standing Committee.

Neither appear to have longstanding ties to Xi, who is expected to bring four new faces to the Standing Committee, analysts and media say. Current members Wang Huning, 67, and Zhao Leji, 65, who are both seen as close to Xi, were both re-elected to the 205-member Central Committee and are set to be reappointed to the CPS.

Two other members of the PSC are past retirement age.

Try to consolidate your position

Both Li and Wang – who had been seen by some party observers as a candidate to succeed Li as prime minister – both have ties to the Communist Youth League, a once influential group that experts say has lost power under Xi.

« Xi Jinping is trying to consolidate the post of prime minister, not just that of general secretary, » said Srikanth Kondapalli, professor of Chinese studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.

Also on Saturday, the party approved amendments to its constitution aimed at cementing Xi’s central status and the guiding role of his political thought within the party as it wrapped up its two-decade congress.

The congress ended on Saturday. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

The new Central Committee will choose the elite Politburo Standing Committee on Sunday, with Xi, 69, widely expected to secure a third term as head.

A third five-year term would cement Xi’s place as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, founding leader of the People’s Republic.

Among the amendments to the party’s constitution, the « Two Established » define Xi as the party’s « essential » leader and cement his ideas as guiding principles for China’s future development. The « two guarantees » ensure Xi’s « central » status within the party and the party’s centralized authority over China.

The new management will be revealed

Voting took place by a show of hands in the sprawling Great Hall of the People, where much of the week’s party congress proceedings took place behind closed doors.

The congress concluded with a military band playing The International.

At its first plenum on Sunday, the party’s new central committee will choose the next Politburo, which usually numbers 25 people, and its new standing committee.

The new leadership will be unveiled when Xi, who Xi is expected to be reappointed to China’s top job as party general secretary, enters a room of reporters at the Great Hall, followed by other members of the Standing Committee in descending order of rank.

Ex-president escorted out of congress

At an unusual time, former President Hu Jintao was unexpectedly escorted out of the congress closing ceremony.

Hu, Xi’s immediate predecessor, sat to Xi’s left. The 79-year-old was led off stage from the main auditorium of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing by two stewards, a Reuters witness told the congress.

Video footage released by AFP shows a steward repeatedly trying to lift Hu from his seat, drawing worried stares from officials seated nearby. Hu then put his hand on a sheet of paper placed on Xi’s file but Xi quickly put his hand on the sheet.

WATCH | Ex-president Hu Jintao leads out of the congress ceremony:
rsz hu jintao.jpg?crop=1

Former Chinese President Hu Jintao Escorted From Congress Ceremony

The 79-year-old predecessor of current leader Xi Jinping was led off stage from the main auditorium during the closing ceremony of the Chinese Communist Party Congress.

China’s top lawmaker Li Zhanshu, seated to Hu’s right, handed the former president’s file to a steward, wiping his head with a rag after Hu finally stood up.

Looking distressed, Hu appeared to resist leaving as stewards escorted him away, returning to his seat at one point. As he walked out, he exchanged words with Xi and patted Premier Li Keqiang, who was seated to Xi’s right, on the shoulder.

Video of the incident, highly unusual given the meticulous scene management of most of these events, was widely shared on Twitter but could not be found on heavily censored Chinese social media platforms.

On China’s Weibo Twitter, a few social media users alluded to the incident by commenting on old posts featuring Hu, a common tactic used to evade cyberspace censors.

By Saturday evening, however, the comment section of almost all Weibo posts containing Hu’s name was no longer visible, according to a Reuters review.

Media coverage of the ceremony did not include the scene, which occurred as reporters entered the venue.

Hu had appeared slightly unsteady last Sunday when he was assisted on the same stage for the congress opening ceremony.


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