Xi Jinping wins third term as leader of the Communist Party of China

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Xi Jinping gets a third term as head of the Chinese Communist Party

Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping was reappointed as head of the Communist Party on Sunday, after sweeping away all dissent, becoming the most powerful leader since Mao Tse-tung, founder of the regime.

Beijing's strongman was nominated for a third five-year term by a vastly revamped Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

In a decade at the helm of the country, Xi Jinping has succeeded in making China the second largest economy in the world, endowed with one of the most powerful armies in the world.

Despite an almost total concentration of power, Mr. Xi will have to deal with a sharply slowing economy, in particular due to his zero COVID policy, an exacerbated rivalry with the United States and international criticism on human rights.

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The 20th party congress closed on Saturday after a week of deliberations behind closed doors, with the renewal of 65% of the members of the Central Committee, a sort of internal parliament within the party.< /p>

During their first meeting on Sunday morning, the 205 members of this Parliament – including only 11 women – appointed the 25 representatives of the Politburo, the decision-making body of the CPC, as well as its Standing Committee.

This all-powerful body holds the reality of power in China.

From left to right, Chinese Communist Party strongmen Li Xi, Cai Qi, Zhao Leji, Xi Jinping, Li Qiang, Wang Huning and Ding Xuexiang.

In accordance with custom, the members of the Standing Committee are announced in order of importance, number one being the general secretary, Xi Jinping.

A priori number two or number three will be next prime minister who will succeed Li Keqiang.

Among the names mentioned to replace him: the current Vice Premier Hu Chunhua or Li Qiang, party leader in Shanghai, despite a chaotic management of the containment in the spring.

We already know that four of the seven former members of the Standing Committee have bowed out, according to the list of parliamentarians published by the official New China news agency after the congress.

They are current Premier Li Keqiang, China's number three Li Zhanshu, Vice Premier Han Zheng and Wang Yang, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a powerless assembly. of decision.

Considered one of the most liberal voices in the party, Wang Yang was a favorite for the premiership.

In any case, the composition of the new Standing Committee, which is usually the subject of tough behind-the-scenes negotiations during the congress, will confirm Xi Jinping's stranglehold on political formation , according to analysts.

It will be an almost total victory for Xi Jinping who will be able to place a majority of his supporters, predicts Willy Lam, a CCP specialist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

There will be abnormally asymmetrical dominance by a single faction: that of Xi Jinping, Lam says.

Far from its homogeneous appearance, the PCC is internally divided and several rival currents coexist, believe sinologists.

Until now, compromises existed for the distribution of positions, of which Xi Jinping is an illustrious example.

Failing to agree on their respective candidate, the different CCP factions finally brought a consensus candidate to power in 2012.

But Xi Jinping then surprised everyone by eliminating his rivals to gradually concentrate all the powers at the head of the party and of China, while carrying out a severe crackdown on all dissent.

By obtaining a third term as general secretary of the party, Xi Jinping secures a third presidential term next March.

To stay in power , the strong man of Beijing obtained in 2018 to amend the Constitution which limited this position to two terms and a total duration of 10 years.

Party leader, army chief, head of state… the leader pleaded for the continuity of his policies during the opening speech of the congress.

The Chinese Communist Party for its part reaffirmed the central role of Xi Jinping on Saturday.

The only significant incident during a closing ceremony, however highly choreographed, was former President Hu Jintao was escorted out on Saturday, AFP reporters found.

Visibly against his will, the 79-year-old, who served as China's president from 2003 to 2013, was pressured by employees to get up from his seat next to Xi Jinping.

This very unusual scene was not explained by the authorities, who did not respond to requests from AFP.

A surprising and mysterious scene marked the end of the Chinese Communist Party Congress. Former President Hu Jintao was expelled. The official version is that he was unwell, but in the images he seems to be resisting. Whether voluntary or forced, this outing of a supporter of appeasement with the West is highly symbolic. Report by Mélissa François, followed by an interview with former Canadian ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques.

For its part, the New China agency said in English that Hu Jintao did not feel well. He is much better now, she wrote on Twitter, a social network blocked in China.

On Sunday, no media in the country had reposted this comment.< /p>

Hu Jintao, who appeared physically weakened during the congress, is Xi Jinping's predecessor and is considered a reformer.

Any reference recent event on behalf of Hu Jintao appeared to have been censored from the Chinese internet, ever since his release from the ceremony.

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