China is approaching its most important day in politics: the 19th National Congress of the ruling Communist Party. The night would close with an official roster of China’s top leadership for the next five years.
But some analysts say the Chinese citizens can expect a remake of the last five years, starring President Xi Jinping.
The party boss and head of China’s growing military is all but guaranteed a second term. In the last one alone, he has encroached upon the framework of government and the lives of ordinary citizens in ways not seen in decades. He has built the party up with loyal allies and vanquished rivals through his widespread anti-corruption campaign.
He’s even developed a mild cult of personality.
In fact, Xi protégé and party leader of Beijing Cai Qi has directed his officials to consider Xi’s compiled speeches as “the most important book on your desk, your main reference work, and your source of mottoes.”
Several official government meetings have even revolved around directing the rank and file to uphold the authority and to refrain from making “improper comments” about party policy.
And new policy is expected to be unveiled at the congress under Xi’s direction. Unessential government work will remain on hold until the congress. It likely will break down as follows.
A few thousand delegates will select a 200-member central committee. That committee will then create a roughly 20-member politburo. Xi will likely run unopposed for the role of party boss — his name likely to be the only one on the ballot.
The process echoes back to China’s first Communist leader Mao Zedong, who ruled until his death in 1976. Historically, the congress has been held to give the party leader another term and to retire the politburo standing committee of about five to nine people.
But some of Xi’s supporters argue the tone of the times may call for a third term under Xi, pushing his rule well into 2027.