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Posts tagged as “Xi Jinping”

Political Theater at the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party

Held from October 16 to 22, China’s 20th Party Congress was a series of political spectacles. President Xi Jinping cemented his status as Paramount-Leader-For-Life, after being confirmed as General Secretary for an unprecedented third consecutive term. This not only broke the two-term limit established four decades ago by Deng Xiaoping, but also made Xi  the first Chinese leader to rule for more than two consecutive terms since Chairman Mao. Xi ushered in a new guard to helm the Politburo Standing Committee, all promoted based on their personal loyalty, and ensured the systematic removal of any factional opposition within the upper echelons of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Most publicized of all was the political farce that played out as former President Hu Jintao was physically removed during the closing ceremony  before the new leadership was announced, in front of a baffled audience of foreign media outlets and journalists.  The show of force and shift in new leadership firmly established Xi’s undisputed control over party and country, making the entire week-long affair seem less about confirming political appointments, and more of a coronation ceremony for Xi.

China’s Party Congress and the End of Political Competition

When the Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress concludes, it is a ripe time for many observers of Chinese politics to look at the new set of appointments and get a sense of the direction in which the country might be headed. Backgrounds of leaders elected to the Politburo Standing Committee (the highest decision-making body in the party) or the Politburo (the second-highest decision-making body) are revealed at the end of the Party Congress, and they would stay in power for the next five years. In Leninist-Marxist regimes, these leaders–who have historically been mostly men– are the living embodiment of the ‘five-year plans’ that rule planned economies.