The Communist Party of China (CPC) begins its 20th National Congress on Sunday, an event of enormous political importance for the country in which President Xi Jinping is due to receive a third five-year term.
Authorities in Beijing are preparing for the congress by removing political protest banners from an overpass, according to images that circulated on social media on Thursday, just days before the start of a Communist Party congress that is held twice in Beijing. one of each.
The banners carried various slogans, including a call for the removal of President Xi Jinping and an end to strict COVID-19 policies, according to several images and videos posted on Twitter, a social network that is blocked in China.
This is what we know about the Congress, the most important political event in China.
1. What good is Congress?
In total, 2,296 delegates chosen by the different party assemblies (only 27% women) will meet behind closed doors after an opening ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
They are in charge of appointing the around 200 members of the Central Committee, a kind of parliament of the PCC. In turn, this body will elect the party’s Political Bureau, the leading group of 25 members, including Secretary General Xi Jinping.
The composition “will offer important clues about the leaders who can occupy high-level positions,” said Christopher K. Johnson, a researcher at the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI), a US think tank.
“The turnover rate within the Central Committee, usually around 60%, will be an indicator of Xi Jinping’s intention to carry out a radical shake-up,” he added.
2. The royal power
In reality, power in China lies with the Standing Committee of the Politburo, a group of seven or nine leaders (until now all men), whose composition will be announced a day after the end of the Congress, probably around 23-24 october.
The Central Military Commission (11 members), fundamental because it controls the army, will also be renewed, as well as the feared Central Commission for Disciplinary Control, which persecutes corrupt officials.
But the most important decisions are made long before the Congress among the country’s main officials, who try to agree in advance on the distribution of Political Bureau posts among the different factions.
As in all socialist-type systems, the party prevails over the state: Xi Jinping owes his power to his position as general secretary of the PCC, which he acceded to in 2012, and not so much to his election as president by the National People’s Congress in 2013.
3. New mandate
Barring much surprise, Xi, 69, will receive a third term as general secretary, and then a third presidential term in March, having abolished the two-term limit in 2018.
Around him, many senior officials are due to retire, including Premier Li Keqiang and some of the older members of the Political Bureau.
“The real question is the place for the faction (of former president) Hu Jintao”, considered reformist, in the highest instance of power, estimated researcher Jean-Pierre Cabestan, based in Hong Kong and a member of the French think tank Asia Centre.
“The rest will be mainly close to Xi Jinping,” he predicted.
The president has already placed his allies in key positions, such as the new Minister of Public Security, Wang Xiaohong, and the party chief in Shanghai, Li Qiang, who remains in power despite the chaotic management of the confinement. of the city in the boreal spring.
4. Reinforced power
Analysts expect Xi Jingping, head of the party, the army and the country, to strengthen his position as the most powerful Chinese communist leader after Mao Zedong (1949-1976).
In 2018, the Constitution embedded a reference to “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.”
The president may want to trim the wording to simply “Xi Jinping Thought,” which some observers say would give it more universal value and more power.