The twentieth CPC Congress: will global challenges affect the country?


Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text

It will be possible to draw conclusions about the decisions of the twentieth CPC Congress only after the elections of the Central Committee, the Politburo, the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee and the publication of the full texts of the forum documents. All this will happen after the end of the congress on October 22. But preliminary results can already be summed up.

The main thing is that the congress (contrary to the hopes of the USA) did not become sensational. China will continue to develop, following the strategy of building "socialism with Chinese characteristics in a new era" and "the revival of the Chinese nation." Judging by the report of the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping (unusually short – only 2 hours), the PRC will focus on ensuring security, accelerating the modernization of the armed forces. The PLA should "protect the dignity and basic interests of China," Xi stressed. "We will modernize our military theory, personnel and weapons faster," Xi said to the applause of the congress. "We will strengthen the strategic potential." By the way, Reuters calculated that Xi uttered the words "security" and "defense" 73 times – against 55 at the previous XIX Congress in 2017.

Relying on military and economic power, China intends to continue its peaceful foreign policy, advocate for a multipolar world without dictate and violence. "We comprehensively promote the diplomacy of a major power with Chinese characteristics, resolutely defend impartiality and justice in international relations, advocate for genuine multilateralism and practice it, take a clear position against hegemonism and the policy of brute force," Xi said in his report to the congress.

Focusing on achievements, Xi Jinping made it clear that the country is developing and will develop according to plan, and global challenges do not affect it. From the words of the Secretary General, it becomes clear that the line will continue to ensure the economic and technological sovereignty of China, which relies on a self-sufficient market and appropriate resources. The development will be a combination of two circulations: the domestic market and foreign trade with an emphasis on the former. Goal: to improve the quality of consumption and life and ensure the growth of the welfare of the population.

Xi did not say anything about his re-election for a third term. But the calmness in the ranks of the members of the Central Committee and some other signs indicate that this matter is resolved. He simply has no competitors, he is supported by colleagues in the politburo, who are also afraid of the beginning of a struggle for leadership in the CPC. The presence in the front row, next to Xi, of his predecessor as General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Hu Jintao, as well as former Premier of the State Council Wen Jiabao and a 105-year veteran of the CPC (who helped Xi at the beginning of his career) speaks of a consensus on this issue in the ranks of the party. By the way, according to the US scenarios, it was the old guard of the CPC, the former leaders had to "start an internal party revolt against Xi." But the performance did not take place and, most likely, was a stillborn invention of American political strategists.

In this context, it is impossible not to turn to the article in the American Washington Post, which was published exactly on the day of the start of the congress and is clearly timed to it. The newspaper calls the re-election of the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee for a third term "an inevitability that should never have happened." Because according to the American establishment (the article is editorial, reflects the spirit and approaches in the American beau monde), this allegedly leads to dictatorship and the strangulation of human rights in China. "The dictatorship, not global cooperation and human rights, are its guiding stars," the newspaper laments. What follows is a confession: Xi's reappointment does not justify American "optimistic" expectations, but will correspond to the conviction of the Chinese leader and his party colleagues that the political and economic openness that destroyed the Soviet Union can destroy China if the party does not double what Lenin called democratic centralism.

Frank recognition and accurate knowledge of Chinese realities. That is, firstly, the United States did everything to prevent Xi from going for a third term, and tried to destabilize the country as much as possible. But, it didn't work out. And secondly, Xi will be reassigned already on the grounds that the Chinese elite fears the arrival of a "hidden Gorbachev" with the support of the United States, who will ruin the country and plunge it into chaos. And this is the absolute truth. Moreover, so that this does not happen again on Chinese soil, there are entire scientific centers in China that study the experience of the USSR and Russia in order not to repeat it. The newspaper could not avoid propaganda cliches about the strangulation of dissent, the "subjugation of Tibet, Xinjiang" and the "slave labor" of the national minorities there. This is about how the US is going to continue to put pressure on China in an attempt to provoke internal instability.

At the same time, the Washington Post rightly draws attention to those points in the report of the CPC Secretary General at the congress, where he talks about strengthening the army and ensuring the security of the country, coupled with the provisions of the policy towards Taiwan. And Xi expressed himself quite clearly about Taiwan: we will do everything to return the province to the bosom of the motherland peacefully, but we do not refuse the military option. Translated from Chinese, this means that there will be no deviations from the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the security law. And there are situations in which military force can be used: the declaration of independence by the local administration and the intervention of a third party. And Washington should know about it.

Since this article was published simultaneously with the beginning of the twentieth CPC Congress, it is curious that it refers to the US National Security Strategy just signed by the US president, where China is called "the only competitor that intends to change the international order and has economic, diplomatic, military and technological power for this." (No offense to Russia will be said)

CPC congresses usually do not condescend to specifics in domestic and foreign policy, they determine the strategy. Naturally, Xi Jinping did not mention Russia and Ukraine in his report. But the Washington Post writes in this context, reflecting the spirit of the congress: "Mr. Xi has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin more often than with any other world leader. He called the author of the aggressive war in Ukraine his "best friend and colleague", with whom he is "similar in character." China condoned the Russian invasion from the very beginning in February and has not done anything significant to curb it since then." That's right. And the main thing is that the congress will not change this situation, but, perhaps, will lead to the activation of China in foreign policy. So the Americans' fears are not in vain.

As for the rest of the posts in the top leadership of the CPC, the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post, which is fond of quoting in the West, writes that more significant changes may occur here than previously thought. But this is quite understandable if Xi goes to a new term and forms a team of younger nominees capable of solving difficult development tasks.

Now the second position in the power structure of the People's Republic of China is occupied by Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Li Keqiang (67 years old), the third is the chairman of the National People's Congress (Parliament of the country) Li Zhanshu (72 years old), the fourth – chairman of the National Committee of the People's Political Consultative Council Wang Yang (67 years old), the fifth – chairman of the CPC Central Committee for the management of activities in the field of strengthening spiritual culture Wang Huning (67 years old), the sixth – secretary of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection Zhao Leji (65 years old), the seventh – First Vice Premier of the State Council Han Zheng (68 years old). These people make up the standing committee of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee.

Who of them will leave and who will stay will be determined after the congress forms a new composition of the Central Committee on October 22, which in turn will hold its first plenary session to approve the composition of the politburo of 25 members and the standing committee of the politburo of seven members – the highest decision-making body.

But the Hong Kong newspaper makes a forecast, relying on its sources and reminding that in Chinese politics everything is discussed in advance, decisions are made through consultations and not overnight. So: it is assumed that the chairman of the National People's Congress Li Zhanshu and Vice Premier Han Zheng, who have already reached retirement age, can resign from their posts. The second person in the Chinese hierarchy, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Li Keqiang is one year younger, and he can stay for now. By the way, the Americans assigned him the role of the main oppositionist.

The new Prime Minister of the State Council will be officially presented only at the annual parliamentary session in March next year, but it will be possible to assume who will take this post when the new composition of the Politburo standing committee becomes known. They are likely to be the second person in the party hierarchy.

Among those who can join the standing committee of the politburo, the Hong Kong newspaper calls the secretary of the CPC City Committee of Chongqing Chen Miner, the head of the office of the CPC Central Committee Ding Xuexiang, who is a trusted assistant to the Chinese leader, the head of the party committee of Guangdong Province Li Xi and the head of the CPC City Committee of Shanghai Li Qiang.

But this, in fact, is not so important, because with the change in the composition of the politburo and its standing committee, China's domestic and foreign policy will not change radically. It is only obvious that Xi Jinping will remain the "core of the party" after the congress, and he will have free hands to carry out reforms and more active actions abroad.