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China’s Xi Widens Powers, Promotes Allies

By 10/23/2022 4:58 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

In a break with tradition, President Xi Jinping was named to another term as head of the ruling Communist Party on Sunday.

He also promoted allies who supported his vision of tighter control over society and the faltering economy, further solidifying his position as China’s most powerful leader in decades.

Xi, who assumed leadership in 2012, was given a third five-year term as general secretary, breaking with tradition that called on his predecessor to step down after ten years in office.

Some predict that the 69-year-old leader will attempt to secure a lifetime of the rule.

After Premier Li Keqiang, the No. 2 leader and a supporter of market-style reform and private enterprise, was removed from the leadership on Saturday, the party also named a seven-member Standing Committee, its inner circle of authority predominated by Xi loyalists.

Li was a year younger than the party’s 68-year-old informal retirement age, but that was nonetheless the case.

Hu Jintao, Xi’s predecessor, exited the party Central Committee meeting on Saturday without warning with an assistant holding his arm.

Hu is 79 years old. That raised concerns about whether Xi was abusing his position by ejecting other political figures.

According to a later report from the official Xinhua News Agency, Hu is in poor health and needs to rest.

In the Great Hall of the People, the location of China’s ceremonial legislature in the heart of Beijing, Xi and the other members of the Standing Committee—none of whom were women—appeared before reporters for the first time as a group.

Li Qiang, the Shanghai party secretary, was the No. 2 leader.

As a result, Li Qiang, who has no relation to Li Keqiang, is now in line to become China’s premier and top economic leader.

Already a member, Zhao Leji was elevated to No. 3, most likely to serve as the legislature’s leader.

When the legislature convenes the following year, those positions will be filled.

The party’s twice-decade congress, which was closely watched for proposals to reverse an economic downturn or adjustments to a harsh “zero-COVID” approach that has closed cities and hampered commerce, concluded with the announcement of leadership changes.

By making no reforms, officials let down investors and the Chinese people.

The starting lineup seemed to embody what some analysts labeled “Maximum Xi,” which prioritized devotion over talent.

As vice premier or Cabinet minister, experience at the national level is often regarded as a qualification for the position.

However, some new leaders lack it.

Promoting Li Qiang, who has no prior experience in the national government, served as an apparent confirmation.

Because of their early 2000s collaboration in the southeast’s Zhejiang province, Li Qiang is regarded as being close to Xi.

Over the past ten years, Li Keqiang has been sidelined by Xi, who appointed himself to lead the bodies that make policy.

On Saturday, Li Keqiang was left off the list of the 205-member party’s new Central Committee, from which the Standing Committee was chosen.

Wang Yang, a proponent of reform and potential premier, resigned from the Standing Committee. Wang is still working at the age of 67.

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