Wednesday , May 22 2024

China to hold 20th Communist Party congress from Oct. 16

China’s ruling Communist Party will hold its five-yearly congress beginning on Oct. 16, with Xi Jinping poised to secure an historic third leadership term and cement his place as the country’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.

The Politburo announced on Tuesday the start date for the congress, which typically lasts about a week and takes place mostly behind closed doors at the Great Hall of the People on the western side of Tiananmen Square in central Beijing.

Under Xi, 69, China has also become far more assertive on the global stage as a leader of the developing world and an alternative to the U.S.-led, post-World War Two order.

“He will take China to an even more Sino-centric approach to policy, particularly foreign policy,” said Steve Tsang, director of the University of London’s SOAS China Institute. “He will also reinforce the importance of the party leading everything in China, and the party following its leader fully,” Tsang said.

Xi’s likely ascendancy to a third five-year term, and possibly more, was set in 2018 when he eliminated the limit of two terms for the presidency, a position that is set to be renewed at the annual parliamentary meeting in March.

A day after the 20th Party Congress, Xi is expected again to be conferred the roles of General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission.

With little change expected in broad policy direction, key outcomes from the Congress will revolve around personnel – who joins Xi on the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) and who replaces Premier Li Keqiang, who is set to retire in March.

Contenders to be premier, a role charged with management of the economy, include Wang Yang, 67, who heads a key a political advisory body, and Hu Chunhua, 59, a vice premier. Both were previously the Communist Party boss of the powerhouse southern province of Guangdong.

Another possibility for the premiership is Chen Min’er, 61, a Xi protege who is party chief of the vast municipality of Chongqing but has never held nationwide office.

The makeup and size of the next PSC, now at seven members, will also be closely watched.

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