China’s Xi Jinping strengthens grip as historic Congress ends

--New party leadership to be announced on Sunday


By Fareeza Haniff in Beijing

The Communist Party of China (CPC) on Saturday wrapped up its week-long 20th National Congress where its General Secretary Xi Jinping is widely-anticipated to be elected to serve a historic third five-year term in office.

At the Great Hall of the People at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, a total of 205 senior party officials, including Xi, were elected to sit on the Central Committee; members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC will meet the press on Sunday after they are elected at a plenary meeting on the same day.

President Xi Jinping and delegates at the closing ceremony of the Congress (Photo: News Room/October 22, 2022)

The Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), officially the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party Central Committee, is comprised of the top leadership of the party.

It currently has seven members- all men- and usually conducts policy discussions and makes decisions on major issues regarding the country of 1.4 billion people.

Importantly, the Premier of the country, Li Keqiang and three other members of the Politburo Standing Committee were not re-elected to the Central Committee. The Vice Premier, Liu He was also not re-elected.

A delegate casts her ballot at the Congress

The 20th Congress also adopted a resolution on the work report of the 19th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

Additionally, the party’s constitution was amended, cementing the core status of Xi and the “guiding role of his political thought within the party.”

According to Reuters, among the amendments, the “Two Establishes” define Xi as the “core” leader of the party and his ideas as the guiding principles of China’s future development. The “Two Safeguards” assure Xi’s “core” status within the party and the party’s centralised authority over China.

Another amendment enshrined “developing fighting spirit, strengthening fighting ability” in the party constitution, while a call to oppose and deter separatists seeking independence for Taiwan was also included for the first time.

The voting was conducted by show of hands.

President Xi, in 2018, abolished the two-term limit, and once he is re-elected, it will mean that he will be the first President to serve a third term, making him one of the more powerful world leaders.

Chinese President Xi Jinping leaves at the end of the closing ceremony of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 22, 2022. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

The 69-year-old currently holds three top positions: General Secretary of the Communist Party, the Head of State and Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission.

In his speech at the closing ceremony on Saturday, Xi said the Congress has “been a complete success and we have realised our goals of unifying thinking, fortifying confidence, charting our course and boosting morale.”

Addressing over 2,000 delegates, the Chinese Leader said that the decisions and plans set out at the Congress and all its outcomes will play a “significant role in guiding and underpinning our efforts to build a modern socialist country in all respects, advance national rejuvenation on all fronts and secure new victories for socialism with Chinese.”

“Our achievements over the past century have been truly remarkable and more than a hundred years on from its founding, our Party is still in its prime.

“We are fully confident and capable of creating new and even greater miracles on the new journey of the new era, miracles that will amaze the world,” Xi concluded in his remarks.

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