Communist Party all set to endorse 2nd term for China’s Xi

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Beijing, Sept 30 (PTI): China’s ruling Communist Party has elected 2,287 delegates for next month’s key Congress, which is widely expected to endorse a second five-year term for President Xi Jinping and appoint a new set of officials backed by him.

The delegates were elected to take part in the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to be held here from October 18, an official statement here said on Saturday. Considerable significance is being attached to the meeting as Xi who has emerged as the most powerful leader, heading the party, the presidency and the military in his five-year tenure, is set for a second term after consolidating his hold on all centres of power in China.     He has already been declared as a ‘core leader’ of the party, a status enjoyed by its founder Mao Zedong and his successor, Deng Xiaoping.

Thousands of officials of the party from top to bottom were removed or punished in the five-year campaign against corruption, which Xi also effectively used to strengthen his position at the helm. Observers here say the party and the government are going to get a makeover with a new set of officials at almost all levels, including the military.

The only survivor is expected to be Premier Li Keqiang who in the last few years played second fiddle to Xi focusing mostly on managing the economy which continued to slow down. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) too is expected to have a new set of commanders at the top after the Congress.

Foreign observers keeping a close watch on the party say though Xi clinically consolidated his power, murmurs of dissent were felt over the slowing economy as well as the recent handling of the Dokalam crisis with India in which China agreed to halt its road-building after a 73-day standoff following objections from India after a shrill Chinese media campaign.

The escalating crisis with the US over China’s close ally North Korea also looms large over the Congress as President Donald Trump ratcheted pressure on Beijing to rein in Pyongyang. China, which accounts for over 80 per cent of North Korea’s external trade, has incurred the displeasure of its neighbour by imposing a series of sanctions including on oil exports.

Amid these problems, Xi is trying to turn the party’s focus back on to the CPC’s core ideology of Marxism, which was diluted in the last three decades after it opted for massive economic reforms including permitting individual businesses and acquisition of private property on long term lease from the state.

At the CPC’s Political Bureau meeting, Xi has called for a profound understanding of Marxism and vigorous promotion of the sensitisation of Marxism.

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