Xi Jinping opened the 20th Congress of China’s ruling Communist Party, a week-long event in which he is expected to win a third term as the country’s leader and cement his place as the country’s leader. the most powerful ruler since Mao Zedong.
Xi began the speech by touting the party’s commitment to protecting national security, maintaining social stability, protecting people’s lives and taking control of the situation in Hong Kong, which was rocked by anti-government protests in 2019.
Regarding Taiwan, Xi said, “We have resolutely waged a great struggle against separatism and interference, demonstrating our strong determination and ability to protect state sovereignty and territorial integrity and oppose Taiwan’s independence.”
The assembled delegates responded with loud applause.
Xi said the 96 million-member party had “won the biggest battle against poverty in human history.”
The gathering of some 2,300 delegates from across the country began at the vast Great Hall of the People on the west side of Tiananmen Square amid heightened security and blue skies after days of smoky days in the Chinese capital.
During his ten years in power, 69-year-old Xi Jinping has achieved success China on an increasingly authoritarian path that prioritizes security, state control of the economy in the name of the “common good,” more assertive diplomacy, a stronger military, and increased pressure to take over democratically-ruled Taiwan.
Analysts generally do not expect any significant changes in policy.
In particular, in recent days, China has repeatedly emphasized its commitment to Xi Jinping’s zero-spread strategy for COVID-19, dashing the hopes of countless Chinese citizens as well as investors that Beijing could soon begin to move away from policies that have caused widespread frustration and economic damage
Xi’s power appears undiminished by a year of turmoil that has seen China’s economy slow sharply, caused by frequent lockdowns over Covid-19 policies, a crisis in the real estate sector and the fallout from his crackdown in 2021 on the once free “platform economy”. as well as global headwinds.
China’s relations with the West have deteriorated sharply, exacerbated by Xi’s support for Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
The son of Communist Party revolutionary Xi Jinping has rebuilt a party that had become deeply corrupt and increasingly irrelevant, expanding its presence into every aspect of China, with Xi officially at its “core.”
In 2018, Xi lifted presidential term limits, clearing the way for him to break with decades of precedent and rule for a third five-year term or longer.
The congress, which is held twice every ten years, is expected to reconfirm Xi as the party’s general secretary, China’s most powerful post, as well as chairman of the Central Military Council. Xi’s presidency will be extended in March at the annual session of China’s parliament.
Ahead of the congress, the Chinese capital has tightened security measures and Covid curbs, while steel mills in neighboring Hebei province have been ordered to cut work to improve air quality, an industry source said.
Xi is expected to unveil his new Politburo Standing Committee, a seven-member team, the day after the congress ends on Saturday. It will include the person who will replace Li Keqiang as premier when Li steps down in March after serving the maximum two terms.