China Communist Party National Congress: Xi’s moment of dominance can’t hide his weakness

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Consider the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China taking place in Beijing, the Marxist-Leninist version of the Pope’s conclave. Put on the mantles of the cardinals and Vatican rituals and you still have a world shrouded in obscurity and mystery, shaped by the maneuvering of emotionless machines and the dictates of a regime. The anointed is always on the lookout for a loss of control over the faithful.

Analysts follow the CCP event, which is usually held every half-decade, search for its own smoke signal: Which officers were removed from prominent positions? Who is the head of the almighty Politburo Standing Committee? Which reliable technocrats are ahead? The public scenes are very well choreographed, the deliberations are thorough and not offensive. But they provide a rare glimpse into an institution that, despite its unquestionable influence and reach, must still find ways to resolve internal frictions and factions.

This year, however, there is a new wrinkle. Chinese President Xi Jinping prepares to appear after meetings with third five-year term as party general secretary and Chairman of its Central Military Commission, two posts that underpin the presidency. Despite his long career, Mr. Xi’s expansive mandate defies established convention as his predecessors have always adhered to the two-term rule.

Xi has spent the past decade cracking down on potential rivals through mass anti-corruption purges, while further constraining the already small space available to Chinese civil society. His iron hand political freedom is crushed in the semi-autonomous coastal city of Hong Kong and place a dystopian drag net in the far west of Xinjiang, where more than a million people, mostly from Muslim minorities, have been sent to detention camps and countless others have become the guinea pigs of an invasive surveillance state , driven by technology.

It is no coincidence that China’s regime resembles the one-man dictatorship under Xi. Across the Communist Party apparatus, Mr. Xi has installed loyal lieutenants in positions of influence. Based on The Wall Street Journal, “All but seven of the 281 members of the Communist Party’s Provincial Standing Committee” were appointed by Mr. Xi. “It is no longer a matter of age,” says Yang Zhang, a sociologist at the American University School of International Services. told my colleague Christian Shepherd, which refers to the unofficial retirement age that limits the careers of aspiring party officials. “It’s about whether you’re on Xi’s side or not.”

Xi introduces China as the ‘new choice’ for mankind as he gets ready for the next term

Meetings this week will cement Xi’s political victory. But the depth of his control and power could help resolve little of the instability facing Communist leaders at home and abroad. China’s economy is in a multi-generational recession, hit in part by Xi’s draconian pandemic-era restrictions as well as policies aimed at restricting the private sector. Meanwhile, the country’s global image has been tarnished by Xi’s assertive nationalism and Beijing’s bullying on the world stage.

The focus of concern in Xi’s next term is Taiwan question, island democracy that Communist China considers an integral part of its territory and a historic mistake that will certainly be corrected. Analysts believe that Mr. Xi, who has previously claimed his legitimacy for reunification with Taiwan, is looking to realize this vision. “He doesn’t see it as just a slogan. Chang Wu-ueh, an adviser to the Taiwanese government, said this is an action plan that must be implemented. for my colleagues. “In the past, leaders have talked about unity as something to be achieved in the long run. Now, it is number one on the agenda. “

Delivery an opening address on Sunday From the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Xi warned that China reserves the “option to take all necessary measures” when it wants to deny Taiwan’s independence and promote reunification. He also spoke of making China a “great modern socialist country” that represents a “new alternative” in global politics – a move for the geopolitical rift. between China and the West has begun to define the period of Xi’s rule.

The war in Ukraine has only rising tension around Taiwan. Mr. Xi has expressed support for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the neighboring country, while pressuring Taiwan with rhetoric and larger military incursions. While predicting greater confidence and possibly significant implications for a nationalist regime that has invested heavily in its military, Xi’s rule has led to a hardening of alliances. Anti-China alliances have formed in the region, including the “Quad” alliance between India, Australia, Japan and the United States. It was also undermining China’s earlier efforts build bridges with countries in the West.

“For the world, it is positive that Mr. Xi has revealed the true face of the CCP regime, which is a combination of political repression, economic pursuit, and ‘adventurous’ ambitions in domination. rule the entire world,” said Wu Guoguang, a China scholar at Stanford University. told the Hindustan Times, an Indian newspaper. “If Xi’s two terms are not enough to ‘educate the world’, this is his third term.”

Xi’s third term in China raises threat of war over Taiwan

For Xi, the biggest challenges will remain at home. On one level, he presides over an undeniable success story. Since Mr. Xi came to power in 2012, China’s economy more than double the size. Its Gross Domestic Product has now surpassed the United States in terms of purchasing power parity. Nearly 100 million more people have been lifted out of poverty, According to Chinese state medialed Xi to declare China’s “complete victory” over poverty last year.

However, this is not Xi’s story. Neil Thomas, senior China and Northeast Asia analyst at Eurasia Group, said: “China’s growth during Xi’s decade in power has been largely driven by a shared economic approach that those in power have enjoyed. adopted by his predecessor, focusing on rapid expansion through investment, production and trade.” , to CNN. “But this model has reached a point where profits are significantly reduced and is increasing economic inequality, financial debt, and environmental damage.”

The Moon, Mars and the Return of Power: How China Has Changed Since the 2008 Olympics

Xi’s efforts to pivot China toward a self-sufficient economy less dependent on foreign buyers have been fruitless and have leaving seismic disruptions in their wakeincluding wiping out more than $1 trillion in market value from some of China’s biggest tech companies.

China’s “zero covid” policy has been hailed by Xi as a measure of Beijing’s superiority over its Western counterparts, which were downplayed by the coronavirus in the early stages of the pandemic. But now the keys extend still in place over hundreds of millions of people hang themselves like seagulls. Regardless of the evidence, public suspicion and real harm to key sectors of the Chinese economy, Mr. Xi has maintained a zero-tolerance line, leaving what used to be China’s reaction. community health. turned into a kind of ideology of autocratic power.

The Chinese leadership may also fear the sudden spread of the virus should restrictions be lifted, due to amazing effect China’s own vaccines and the limited immunity of the general population. The consequences appear obvious. “While experts have long predicted China’s economy will slow as it matures, Xi’s unwillingness to bend this year has spurred that shift in the way many economists believe.” that can leave a permanent scar.” Jonathan Cheng of the Wall Street Journal wrote.

“Xi’s approach has been dampening consumer confidence and spending – key to China’s goal of a transition to a more consumer-led economy – while complicating issues such as youth unemployment years on the rise and the real estate market deteriorates,” my colleague Lily Kuo wrote. “International Monetary Fund on Tuesday reduce growth rate in 2022 forecast for China was 3.2% compared with 8.1% forecast last year. “

Mr. Xi may emerge supreme in his power this week, but the ground may be slowly changing at his feet as party cadres grapple with the growing woes facing the country. face to face.

“While the prospect of a leadership challenge or coup is still remote due to the sheer scale of logistical barriers and political dangers, Xi’s becoming a potential ruler for a lifetime simply adds to the impetus for opponents to derail his agenda or plot his retreat,” Jude Blanchette of the Center for Strategic and International Studies wrote. “Authoritarian systems and authoritarian leaders always appear solid on the outside – until suddenly, they are not.”


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