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China: Communist Party begins key Congress today


China’s ruling Communist Party on Sunday began its week-long key Congress here. It is expected that President Xi Jinping will get endorsed for a record third term which will break the over three-decade norm for top leaders to step down after a 10-year tenure, according to the news agency PTI.

During the week-long meeting, all top officials, except 69-year-old Xi, will be replaced in the massive reshuffle. Xi is due to present his work report to Congress on Sunday.

The closed-door meeting will be attended by the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which consists of 2,296 “elected” delegates under the norms and guidelines set by Xi.

It is being held amid a rare protest against Xi and his rigid zero-Covid policy of widespread restrictions and lockdowns, resulting in the slowdown of the world’s second-largest economy.

The Congress will be held from October 16 to 22, spokesperson for the Congress Sun Yeli told a press conference here as quoted by PTI.

Ahead of the once-in-a-five-year conclave, photos circulating on social media on Thursday showed banners hung on overpasses of a major thoroughfare in the northwest of the Chinese capital, protesting against Xi’s unpopular zero-Covid policy and authoritarian rule.

Banners are displayed on a bridge in the district of Haidian, home to universities and tech firms in Beijing. “Food, not Covid test; reform, not a cultural revolution; freedom, not lockdowns; votes, not a leader; dignity, not lies; citizens, not slaves,” the banners read, as per PTI reports. 

Following the incident, security, which is already tight in Beijing, has been further beefed up.

Speaking about the growing unemployment rate in the country which climbed to a record 19%, observers said that discontent is brewing in the party over Xi’s massive anti-corruption crackdown against officials in the last 10 years in which lakhs of officials, including top brass of the military, were punished.

Since 2012 when he assumed power, Xi launched a ruthless campaign against corruption which systematically helped him weed out political opponents, PTI reported. 

However, there is also concern over the US and the EU increasingly turning hostile against China besides neighboring countries India and Japan over Beijing’s military might and belligerent rhetoric over its sovereignty claims.

The Congress is also being closely watched at home and abroad for its leadership changes and the much-expected continuation of Xi for an unprecedented third term, and perhaps for life.

To facilitate Xi’s continuation in power, China’s Constitution has already been amended in 2018 by National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s parliament, removing two five-year tenures for the President.


(With PTI inputs)



















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