Xi Jinping is about to perpetuate himself in power: what will happen in the 2023 edition of the People’s Congress of China

Chinese leader Xi Jinping. (Ju Peng/Xinhua via AP) (Ju Peng/)

The Chinese People’s Congress begins next Sunday its annual session in which it must approve a unprecedented third presidential term for Xi Jinpingundisputed in the position despite the covid crisis and its economic repercussions.

There is no doubt that Xi will keep the post after being re-elected in October for another five years as leader of the Communist Party and the Armed Forcesthe two most important positions of power in Chinese politics.

Since then, the 69-year-old leader has faced unexpected challenges with protests against the policy of zero covid and its subsequent abandonment that caused numerous deaths.

These issues will surely be left aside at the meeting of the National People’s Congressa carefully choreographed event that will also name li qiangformer head of the party in Shanghai and an ally of Xi, as the new prime minister.

The plenary session is expected to last around ten days, culminating in the endorsement of Xi’s presidency by the 3,000 delegates who will meet at the Great Hall of the People of Beijing.

“It is likely that public opinion will not see it favorably: the zero-covid policy damaged the faith of the population,” he considered Alfred Muluan Wuteacher of the National University of Singapore.

However, Xi still enjoys a “quite strong” position at the top of the party that makes him virtually unchallenged, Wu said.

Chinese delegates at the Great Hall of the People (GHOP).  EFE/ Wu Hong/ File
Chinese delegates at the Great Hall of the People (GHOP). EFE/ Wu Hong/ File (EFEM0297/)

China maintained until December one of the policies anticovid strictest in the world, with massive tests and long confinements that disrupted economic growth and social life.

The unrest erupted in November with the largest public demonstrations in decades.

The health policy was dismantled shortly after, causing an outbreak of infections and deaths that the authorities barely officially reported.

The country is still reeling from the outbreak and from three years in which businesses, jobs and education were subjugated to the regime’s demand to stamp out the virus at any cost.

The experts interviewed by AFP They expect lawmakers to set the lowest economic growth targets in decades.

However, there is no shadow of a doubt about the position of Xi, who has filled the main party organs with loyalists.


Instead of threatening Xi’s power, last year’s protests “gave him exactly what he was looking for,” he said. Christopher JohnsonPresident of China Strategies Group.

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In this photo taken on Sunday, November 27, 2022, police officers restrain and arrest a protester during a protest on a street in Shanghai, China. Authorities relaxed anti-virus rules in scattered areas but affirmed China’s stern “zero-COVID” strategy on Monday after crowds demanded the resignation of President Xi Jinping during protests against lockdown controls that lock down millions of people in their homes. (AP Photo)

“If abandoning the zero covid was going well, he could (…) say that he listened to the people. If it went wrong, he could blame the protesters and the ‘hostile foreign forces’ that his security chief publicly suggested were behind them,” he wrote in an article in the magazine foreign affairs last week.

Steve Tsangdirector of the SOAS China Institute of the University of London, He said Xi gets a chance to brag about his response to pressure.

“He acted decisively when the protests included calls for him and the communist party they left. He quelled them and removed their basic cause,” Tsang told the AFP.

Cold relations with the West

The delegates of the National Assembly and of the concurrent Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference They will also approve a series of personnel changes and discuss various issues, from economic recovery to improving sex education in schools, according to state media reports.

The meetings serve as a forum for attendees to present new projects, but they have little influence on the more global management of China.

Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Xi Jinping during a meeting.  Sputnik/Ramil Sitdikov/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS: THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY/FILE PHOTO
Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Xi Jinping during a meeting. Sputnik/Ramil Sitdikov/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS: THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY/FILE PHOTO (Sputnik Photo Agency/)

This year’s conclave comes amid cooling relations with Western countries.

a dispute with USA over alleged spy balloons raised concerns about Biejing’s ambiguous position on the invasion of Ukraine by his ally Russia.

In addition to announcing the GDP target for next year, outgoing Premier Li Keqiang is due to announce a commitment to increase military spending on Sunday.

(With information from AFP)

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