Xi Jinping presides over closing session of Communist Party Congress

During the day, the Chinese Communist Party is due to elect its Central Committee comprising over 370 senior leaders and pass several key resolutions, including an amendment to the party’s Constitution to grant more powers to President Xi Jinping

Updated - October 22, 2022 06:23 pm IST

Published - October 22, 2022 09:32 am IST - Beijing

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, former President Hu Jintao and President Xi Jinping attend the closing ceremony of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the Great Hall of the People on October 22, 2022 in Beijing, China

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, former President Hu Jintao and President Xi Jinping attend the closing ceremony of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the Great Hall of the People on October 22, 2022 in Beijing, China | Photo Credit: Getty Images

The key Congress of China's ruling Communist Party, which is expected to confirm a record third term for President Xi Jinping, opened the closing session of its week-long meeting on Saturday.

During the day, it is due to elect its Central Committee comprising over 370 senior leaders and pass several key resolutions, including an amendment to the party’s Constitution to grant more powers to Mr. Xi.

The Central Committee is the main governing body of the party. It will also outline the policies to be followed by the party and country in the next five years.

The endorsement for an unprecedented third term for Xi, 69, by the Communist Party of China (CPC) would be announced on Sunday.

Mr. Xi presided over the closed-door closing session, official media here reported.

During Saturday’s session, the once-in-a-five-year Congress of the CPC comprising 2,296 delegates from its branches all over the country is due to elect the Central Committee. The Central Committee will meet on Sunday to elect the Political Bureau which will elect the powerful Standing Committee of about seven members.

The Standing Committee in turn will elect the General-Secretary as per the party’s procedure.

Mr. Xi, who remained the General Secretary of the party since 2012, is expected to be part of the new Standing Committee which will endorse a third five-year term to him. Completing a 10-year tenure this year, he will be the first Chinese leader after party founder Mao Zedong to continue in power, ending three decades of the rule followed by his predecessors to retire after two five-year tenures.

Observers say the new tenure will put him on course to continue in power for life like Mao.

After the end of the new election process, Mr. Xi along with the new Standing Committee members will appear before the media on Sunday. A large number of Beijing-based journalists have already been put in a closed-COVID-loop system for the past four days to cover the media appearance of the new leaders.

The end of the 20th Congress will usher in brand new leaders at all levels, except for Mr. Xi, who is expected to remain a powerful leader continuing to hold the posts of President of China, General Secretary of the CPC and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), the overall high command of the two million-strong Chinese military.

Premier Li Keqiang, 66, the number two ranked leader has already announced that he will not continue in the post though he is still below the official retirement age limit of 68.

The new administration will take over in March next year after the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's Parliament.

Ahead of the 20th Congress, Beijing witnessed rare public protests with banners hung on overpasses of major thoroughfares, protesting against Mr. Xi's unpopular zero-COVID policy and authoritarian rule.

Banners displayed on a bridge in the district of Haidian, home to universities and tech firms in Beijing, had slogans: food, not COVID test; reform, not a cultural revolution; freedom, not lockdowns; votes, not a leader; dignity, not lies; citizens, not slaves.

Battery-operated loudspeakers were hung in some places blaring anti-Xi and anti-Zero COVID slogans.

Police quickly moved to remove the banners and loudspeakers. Similar reports of protests came from different cities of China.

After the appearance of the banners, security was further tightened in Beijing with the deployment of police on most of the city's bridges and underpasses.

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