Explainer: What to expect from China’s party congress

BEIJING: China’s ruling Communist Party is holding the country for two decades Conference starting on Sunday, then Xi Jinping is expected to receive a third five-year term as head of the party, government and military of the world’s second-largest economy. The proceedings surrounding the event were shrouded in secrecy, as is typical in China’s authoritarian one-party state. But the week-long congress, the 20th in its more than 100-year history, is expected to create a new leadership group chosen by Mr. Xi, who face no term limits and has yet to indicate a successor after a decade at the top.
The 96-million-member party is led by a Central Committee and Politburo. Their top cadres, who are now number seven, make up Standing Committee of the Politburo.
What is at stake?
No significant changes to the political or economic system are expected. Using a wide-ranging anti-corruption campaign and relentless crackdown on dissent and freedom of expression, Mr. Xi has eliminated virtually any opposition and placed loyalists in most key positions.
However, his hardline “zero-Covid” policy, which has placed tens of millions of people in quarantine, severely restricted travel and imposed growing economic costs, has sparked rare protests. , including the appearance of anti-Xi banners in the high-tech business sector of Beijing’s Haidian district this week.
Authorities declined to comment on the case and shut down all discussion of it on the internet – the only area of ​​public life where the regime can be criticized, at least until censors Party approval moved to.
Xi’s administration says such strict COVID-19 control is the only way to prevent a wider outbreak in the world’s most populous country.
How will the congress affect China globally?
China’s more assertive foreign policy, sometimes described as a “wolf warrior” approach based on the name of a popular action movie, has drawn backlash from the US, Europe and other countries. neighboring countries in the region. China’s claim to virtually the entire South China Sea has raised tensions with the claimants, the US and others, while its forces have clashed with Indian troops along the border. their dispute.
Beijing’s close alignment in its foreign policy with Russia and its refusal to criticize Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine has also increased tensions with the West.
It also focused attention on China’s threat to invade the self-governing democratic island of Taiwan to bring it under their control, a move that would draw the attention of the US and its allies such as Taiwan. Japan and Australia.
Mr. Xi shows no signs of changing in the direction of foreign policy, despite China’s sharp slowdown in economic growth and the challenges facing its “Belt and Road” foreign investment program. considered to reduce his leverage. The suppression of opposition voices and freedom of speech in Hong Kong by more than 1 million Muslim minorities in Xinjiang has also drawn widespread criticism abroad, prompting many local leaders to financial and travel restrictions by the US, UK and EU.
Who is represented at the convention?
State media reported that 2,296 delegates had been “elected” to the congress. All candidates are carefully screened and are not allowed to campaign. Of those, 771 are described as front-line party members who work outside the party organs, or in the armed forces, function as the party’s military branch, or in agriculture or other sectors. technical professions.
The party and makeup of the congress is still dominated by men from China’s main Han ethnic group. According to state news agency Xinhua, women and members of minority groups make up 27% and 11.5% respectively.
After what is expected to be a lengthy policy speech on Sunday, the congress will be conducted largely behind closed doors.
If previous protocols are followed, the new leadership will be announced the day after the congress closes, with the top-level members emerging behind the curtain to take their place in the hierarchy. based on their distance from Xi’s left and right.


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