China: Party congress ended - Xi Jinping continues to expand his power

China's head of state and party leader Xi Jinping further expanded his power at the Communist Party Congress in Beijing.

China: Party congress ended - Xi Jinping continues to expand his power

China's head of state and party leader Xi Jinping further expanded his power at the Communist Party Congress in Beijing. At the end of the party congress, which only takes place every five years, the 2,300 delegates in Beijing on Saturday anchored his ideology and lasting leadership role even more deeply in the party constitution. The 69-year-old wants to take up an unusual third term as Secretary-General on Sunday, thereby defying previously respected age limits.

The carefully orchestrated week-long session was marred by an incident involving former leader Hu Jintao. The frail-looking 79-year-old was taken off the podium from his place next to Xi Jinping by two room stewards, apparently against his will, shortly before the constitutional amendments. Shortly before, foreign media representatives had been allowed onto the grandstand of the Great Hall of the People. Hu Jintao is not necessarily seen as a supporter of the party leader and his sole rule.

Delegates called for the inclusion of several theoretical concepts in the Constitution. These include the "Two Establishments" (Liang ge queli), with which Xi Jinping's position of power as the core of the party and "Xi Jinping's ideas for socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era" are laid down as guidelines. The "Four Realms of Consciousness" (Si ge yishi) should also be added. They demand loyalty, political integrity, leadership support and adherence to the party line.

"Four Confidence" and "Two Preservation"

The "Four Self-Confidence" (Si ge zixin), which relate to the course of the party, party theories, socialism with Chinese characteristics and Chinese culture, will also be compulsory. Finally, the demand for the "Two Preservations" (Liang geweihu) was added, which concerns Xi Jinping's key position and the party's authority and centralized, unified leadership.

"The most important political innovation of this party congress cannot be found on paper: Instead of making room for a younger successor after two terms as Secretary General, Xi Jinping is setting himself up as his own successor," said Katja Drinhausen from the China Institute Merics in Berlin . In his first decade in office, Xi Jinping formulated "great ambitions" for China and the Communist Party. "He has now underpinned them and paved the way for them to become a reality."

The newly appointed Central Committee is scheduled to hold its first plenary session on Sunday to confirm the reshuffle of the Politburo and its powerful Standing Committee. Xi Jinping is to be confirmed as Secretary General and head of the Military Commission for an unusual third term. "He may find that his third term in power is the hardest yet," said Richard McGregor of Australia's Lowy Institute. A potential successor will not be set up.

Incident with Ex-President Hu Jintao at Congress

What was behind the incident with ex-president Hu Jintao remained unclear. He belongs to the Communist Youth League camp in the party, which was weakened by Xi Jinping. After two terms in office, Hu Jintao handed over the office of Secretary-General to Xi Jinping in 2012. He stands for the old "collective" management model with representatives from different factions and with age limits. This was to prevent any leader from becoming as powerful as the founder of the state and revolutionary Mao Tsetung, who had brought chaos to the country. History should not repeat itself.

But Xi Jinping has abolished this institutionalization and created a personalized system in which no one else can come close to him, noted the well-known US political scientist Francis Fukuyama in "The Atlantic". "One person's concentration of authority has led to poor decision-making processes." Among other things, he cited Xi Jinping's failed interventions in the economy and tech sector and his adherence to the strict zero-Covid strategy, which has become a heavy burden on the economy with lockdowns.

Premier Li Keqiang leaves Beijing's leadership team

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will no longer be part of the country's future leadership team. He was missing from the list of names of the members of the new Central Committee at the end of the congress on Saturday. As a result, he can no longer belong to the supreme body of power, the Standing Committee of the Politburo. The 67-year-old had already announced at the annual meeting of the People's Congress in March that after two terms in office he no longer wanted to run as prime minister.

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