Xi Jinping reasserts his control of the CCP, on the eve of a 3rd term

Chinese President Xi Jinping is to be reappointed as head of the Communist Party on Sunday, after sweeping away all dissent in the country and within its ranks, thus ensuring that he will lead China for at least five more years.

This third term will make him the most powerful leader since the regime’s founder, Mao Tse-tung (1949-1976).

After a week of deliberations behind closed doors, the 20th congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) closed on Saturday with a major reshuffle of its Central Committee, a sort of internal parliament within the party.

The latter was renewed at 65% compared to 2017, according to calculations by AFP.

On Sunday morning, the 205 members — including only 11 women — will hold their first meeting. They will designate the 25 representatives of the Political Bureau, the decision-making body of the PCC, as well as its Standing Committee.

This all-powerful body of seven members currently holds the real power in China and the new team will be presented to the press around noon.

It will be renewed at more than 50% because we already know that four of the seven members are bowing out, according to the list of members of the Central Committee published by the official New China agency.

They are the current Premier Li Keqiang, Chinese number three Li Zhanshu, Vice Premier Han Zheng and Wang Yang, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, an assembly without decision-making power.

Considered one of the most liberal voices in the Party, Wang Yang was a favorite for the next premiership.

“Victory” for Xi

The composition of the new Standing Committee, which is generally the subject of tough negotiations behind the scenes during the congress, has already been decided and will confirm Xi Jinping’s hold on political training, according to analysts.

“It will be an almost total victory for Xi Jinping” who will be able to place a majority of his supporters, predicts Willy Lam, a CCP specialist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“There will be an abnormally asymmetrical domination of a single faction: that of Xi Jinping,” Mr. Lam told AFP.

Far from its homogeneous appearance, the CCP is internally divided and several rival currents coexist, believe sinologists.

Until now, compromises existed for the distribution of positions, of which Xi Jinping is an illustrious example.

Failing to agree on their respective candidate, the various factions of the CCP finally put a consensus candidate in power in 2012.

But Xi Jinping then surprised everyone by eliminating his rivals to gradually concentrate all the powers at the head of the party and China, while carrying out severe repression against all dissent.

In accordance with custom, the members of the Standing Committee will be announced in order of importance, number one being the Secretary General.

A priori number two or number three will be the next prime minister who will succeed Li Keqiang.

Among the names mentioned to replace him: the current Deputy Prime Minister Hu Chunhua or Li Qiang, party leader in Shanghai, despite chaotic management of containment in the spring.

The Hu Jintao Incident

By obtaining a third term as general secretary of the party, Xi Jinping is almost assured of a third presidential term next March.

To stay in power, the strongman of Beijing obtained in 2018 an amendment to the Constitution which limited this position to two terms and for a total duration of 10 years.

Party leader, army chief, head of state… the leader pleaded for the continuity of his policies during the opening speech of the congress.

The Chinese Communist Party for its part reaffirmed on Saturday the “central role” of Xi Jinping.

The only significant incident during a very choreographed closing ceremony, former President Hu Jintao was escorted to the exit, AFP journalists noted.

Visibly against his will, the 79-year-old, who served as China’s president from 2003 to 2013, was pressured by employees to get up from his seat next to Xi Jinping.

This highly unusual scene was neither explained nor reported by accessible state media in China. The authorities have not responded to AFP’s requests.

For its part, the New China agency said in English that Hu Jintao “did not feel well”. He is « much better » now, she wrote on Twitter, a social network blocked in China.

On Sunday, no media in the country had reposted this comment.

Hu Jintao, who appeared physically weakened during the congress, is Xi Jinping’s predecessor and considered a reformer.

To see in video

(function(d, s, id){ var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "https://connect.facebook.net/fr_CA/sdk.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));


Back to top button