Chinese President Xi Jinping was re-elected general secretary of the 20th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at the committee’s first plenary session held on Sunday, according to an official communique.
The session, presided over by Xi, was attended by 203 members of the CPC Central Committee and 168 alternate members.
Xi, 69, was also named chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission (CMC), the overall high command of the Chinese military at the session.
Xi Jinping said “the world needs China” as he spoke to the press. “China cannot develop without the world, and the world also needs China,” Xi said. “After more than 40 years of unflagging efforts towards reform and opening up, we have created two miracles—rapid economic development and long-term social stability.”
“The results of the Party Congress fully confirm your high political authority, as well as the unity of the party you lead,” Putin told Xi, according to the Kremlin’s website. Meanwhile, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, too, sent a congratulatory letter to Xi, state news agency KCNA reported.
The CPC also named the new seven-member Standing Committee, its inner circle of power. The new Committee comprises Xi and his loyalists.
But the Politburo has no women for the first time in 25 years, and won just 11 of the 205 seats in the Communist Party’s Central Committee, a slight uptick from five years ago. Another 22 women were named alternate members who can attend meetings but not vote, a slight improvement on the past congress. Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, 72, the country’s Covid czar and the lone woman on the current 25-member top decision-making Politburo, was absent from the list, as expected after exceeding the retirement age. The two female front-runners to succeed her both missed out.
Besides Xi, the six members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee elected at the session are Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang and Li Xi, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Both Zhao and Wang are the members of the previous committee. Li Qiang, the 63-year-old head of the Shanghai CPC, is regarded as a close associate of Xi and widely expected to be promoted as Premier in March to replace incumbent Li Keqiang who retired.
His selection has raised eyebrows as Shanghai performed gravely during the recent COVID-19 spike leading to the closure of over 25 million strong city for weeks. The prolonged lockdown during which people suffered for basic necessities invoked strong criticism from the public.
Zhao Leji, 65, has run the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party's much-feared body for policing
corruption and other malfeasance, since 2017. He is considered a key figure in Xi's campaign to bring party members in-line.
Wang Huning, 62, is a long-time party political theorist and has been a member of the Politburo Standing Committee since 2017. He is considered one of Xi's most important advisers. Unusual for those at the helm of power, Wang, who has a background in academia, has no experience as a regional governor, party leader or cabinet minister.
Wang is credited by foreign researchers with developing the official ideologies of three Chinese leaders - Jiang Zemin's “Three Represents,” Hu Jintao's “Scientific Development Concept" and Xi's “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in a New Era”.
Cai Qi is a newcomer to the Politburo Standing Committee. The 66-year-old leader is considered one of the party's leading intellectuals. He has a doctorate in political economy from Fujian Normal University.
Cai has worked in the coastal provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang. He was also the mayor of Beijing. He is credited with conducting the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics on time and with relatively little disruption and also carrying out Xi's “zero-COVID" strategy without causing the sort of massive upheaval seen in Shanghai.
Ding Xuexiang, the head of the General Office since 2017, is one of the most important bureaucrats in the party, with sweeping control over information and access to officials.
Ding, who joined the Politburo in 2017, has held a variety of posts within the party rather than in government administration. Like Wang Huning, 60-year-old Ding has never been a governor, provincial party secretary or minister.
Apart from his elevation to the Politburo Standing Committee, 66-year-old Li Xi has also been named to succeed Zhao Leji as head of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, whose activities Xi is bound to take a close interest in.
Meanwhile, the session also elected members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, which endorsed the members of the CPC Central Committee Secretariat nominated by the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.
The session also named the members of the CMC.
October 2007: Joins national leadership in the Politburo Standing Committee, and named vice-president of China
November 2012: Replaces Chinese President Hu Jintao as general secretary of the Communist Party
2013-2014: China begins reclaiming land in the South China Sea pushing its territorial claims to disputed areas in the vital waterway
October 2017: The party enshrines his ideology, known as “Xi Jinping Thought” in its Constitution
June-November 2019: Massive protests demanding greater democracy paralyse Hong Kong. Xi's government responds by imposing a national security law in mid-2020 that quashes dissent in the city
January 2020: China locks down the city of Wuhan as a new virus sparks what will become the COVID-19 pandemic
October 2022: Xi starts a third five-year term as Communist Party leader Associated Press
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