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China is expected to grant Episode 5 more years, no major changes


BEIJING –

On Sunday, China opened its twice-decade-long party conference, at which leader Xi Jinping is expected to receive a third five-year term, breaking with recent precedent and asserting himself. He is the most powerful politician in China since Mao Zedong.

Mr. Xi is expected to give a lengthy speech at the opening session, but little change can be seen in his formula of strict one-party rule, a intolerance of criticism and a tough approach. for COVID-19 include quarantine and travel ban even like other countries. opened.

As with most Chinese political events, very little information has been released before, and the results of the congress will only be announced a few days after the closed sessions. How much has been decided in advance and how much still has to be hashed out in face-to-face meetings is also unknown.

At a two-hour press conference on Saturday, Speaker of the National Assembly Sun Yeli reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the “zero-COVID” policy despite the economic costs, and repeated the threat threatened to use force to annex self-governing Taiwan.

But Sun gave some details of what would happen if there were any changes to the party’s charter at the meeting, which is expected to last about a week. The congress, the 20th in the centuries-old party’s history, boasts some 96 million members, more than 2,000 of whom will attend meetings in Beijing.

Mr. Sun, deputy head of the Communist Party’s Propaganda Department, who is not well known outside the party, said the changes would “combine major theoretical perspectives and strategic thinking” in the five years from the date of the founding of the Communist Party of China. previous meeting.

The amendments or additions will “meet new requirements to promote the development of the party and work in the face of new circumstances and new tasks”, Mr. Sun said.

Mr. Xi has left little room for further political aggravation, having placed himself in full charge of domestic affairs, foreign policy, the military, the economy and most other important issues. overseen by working groups of the party he leads.

The congress comes as China’s economy is facing major headwinds amid a near-collapse of the real estate sector and the toll on the retail and manufacturing sectors due to COVID-19 restrictions. 19 imposed increased population surveillance and suppression of free speech by the regime.

In his remarks, Mr. Sun said China would make every effort to bring Taiwan under its control peacefully. But he said China would not tolerate what he called a movement towards independence fully supported by hardliners on the island and their supporters abroad – perhaps the US, Taiwan’s main source of military and diplomatic support despite the lack of formal ties in respect of Beijing.

Mr. Sun also does not expect China to back down from “no COVID”, which Mr. Xi and other leaders have raised a political issue despite criticism from the World Health Organization and other organizations. other organizations that it is not a realistic long-term solution due to improvements in vaccines and therapies.

Many expect this policy to continue at least until March, when Mr. Xi is expected to be handed a third term as president and other top cabinet leaders will be installed.

Political observer and dissident Yin Weihong said Xi’s break with the party’s previous collectivist leadership style to concentrate power in his own hands made the public and party officials dissidents said. .

“It feels like he’s officially taken a cake to share among many people and decided to just have it for himself,” Yin said in a phone call from his home south of Shanghai.

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