China's Communist Party Congress to open October 16

AFP , Tuesday 30 Aug 2022

China's ruling Communist Party will begin its 20th Party Congress on October 16 in Beijing, state media reported Tuesday, a landmark meeting at which Xi Jinping is expected to be reinstated as president for an unprecedented third term.

Chinese Communist Party Congress
Chinese President Xi Jinping, front row center, stands with his cadres during the Communist song at the closing ceremony for the 19th Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 24, 2017. AP


Taking place every five years, the momentous political event will also unveil a new top leadership line-up as Xi consolidates his grip on the party and his position as the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.

The congress will be an "extremely important conference held at a critical moment when the whole Party and people of all ethnic groups are embarking on a new journey of building a modern socialist country", according to a readout from broadcaster CCTV of a Monday meeting of the 25-member Politburo, China's top leadership body.

Preparatory work for the meeting is "progressing smoothly", CCTV said.

The event will see about 2,300 Communist Party delegates from across the country descend on Beijing in a highly choreographed exercise to pick members of the party's Central Committee of around 200 members.

The Central Committee will then vote for the 25-person Politburo and its all-powerful Standing Committee -- China's highest leadership body and apex of power, currently comprised of just seven people.

Voting is mostly a formality -- the pecking order of the Politburo and its Standing Committee is likely to have been decided well in advance.

Xi faces significant political headwinds including an ailing domestic economy, deteriorating relations with the United States over Taiwan, and a harsh zero-Covid policy that has accelerated China's inward turn from the world.

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