The Communist Party Congress (CPC) in Beijing is coming as Xi faced significant political headwinds, including a distressed economy, deteriorating relations with the US and a strict zero covid policy that has accelerated China’s inner turn of the world.
It is widely expected that Xi will be reinstated as president for a third term – unprecedented in the current era. It will also be the unveiling of a new lineup for top leaders as Xi consolidates his hold on the party and his position as the most powerful Chinese leader since the country’s founder Mao Zedong.
The meeting – held every five years – will be “extremely important,” according to a report by state broadcaster CCTV at a Monday meeting of the country’s politburo.
During the event, about 2,300 Communist Party delegates will descend on Beijing in a highly choreographed exercise to elect members of the party’s central committee, made up of about 200 members. The latest meeting of the current central committee will be held in Beijing from Oct. 9, the report said.
The central committee will then vote for the 25-member politburo and its all-powerful permanent committee — China’s highest leadership body, which currently consists of seven people. Voting is usually a formality – the pecking order of the politburo and its standing committee is probably set well in advance. Analysts predict “no surprises” in terms of size and timing. “Most people wouldn’t be surprised to see Xi get a third term,” said Alfred Wu Muluan, a Chinese political expert.
It is likely that Xi will be given the honorary title of “Great Leader” at the congress, Wu said, a term most recently used to refer to Mao Zedong. Wu added that the top leadership lineup was most likely determined during the secretive two-week conclave of Communist Party leaders in the seaside town of Beidaihe in August.
Analysts predict Xi will try to shorten the name of his official political philosophy in the party constitution to the spicier “Xi Jinping thought,” putting him on a par with Mao.