Challenges loom for Xi ahead of 20th Party Congress next month

Despite a rise in the party membership of the CCP, President Xi has expressed concern over the loyalty of party members towards him as he continues to bid for the third presidential term.
Xi Jinping
Xi JinpingFile photo

BEIJING: Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is set to convene its 20th Party Congress next month in Beijing, the country's top decision-making body announced last month. During the Party Congress that is held every 5 years, Chinese President Xi Jinping is likely to secure a third term in office as President while a new top leadership line-up will also be unveiled.

Ahead of the national congress, Xi Jinping is already calling for cadres in leading positions to remain loyal to the spirit of the party. If reports are to be believed, the need for the maintaining spirit has arisen for growing discontent over Xi Jinping's policies. Writing for InsideOver, Federico Giuliani contended that all is not smooth in China.

"The infighting within the party is going on and the fight between Xi Jinping, General Secretary, and the faction of Jiang Zemin, former CCP head; and another one is the fight between Xi and Li Keqiang, China's Premier," he argues. Since the Chinese chairman assumed power, he has centralized power and made CCP and government less flexible. He has transformed it into a top-down institution led by a single dominant leader.

"The congress is an event held once every five years at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing to set major policies and select top leaders - including the roughly 370-strong Central Committee and 25-member Politburo," said Giuliani. Even Xi's call for persistence and his overarching goal to prevent social unrest and political doubts is intensely debated among China watchers. Experts believe that it may take longer for economic activity to fully recover from the impact of stringent lockdowns and the harsh Zero Covid-19 strategy.

Despite a rise in the party membership of the CCP, President Xi has expressed concern over the loyalty of party members towards him as he continues to bid for the third presidential term. The party members often have two types of loyalty. The first includes loyalty to the party and the second to Xi himself. However, it is crucial to note that most government job positions in the country require the individual have a party membership.

Giuliani said the battle for the 20th Congress is not over. "While Xi's securing of a third term is virtually guaranteed, the success of those he will seek to promote is less so i.e. he will not get up around him all the folks that he wants," he concludes.

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