Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to further consolidate his power at a two-decade congress this fall. He is pictured here on July 1, 2022, at a swearing-in ceremony for Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee.
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BEIJING – Chinese leaders are due to meet in Beijing on October 16 for a major political meeting that should consolidate the president Xi Jinpingthe power and signal of future economic policy.
This year’s rally takes on added significance as it has become a widely watched marker for when China might start easing its strict zero-Covid policy.
The The main leaders of the Chinese Communist Party should propose that the party will hold its 20th National Congress on Oct. 16 in Beijing, state media said on Tuesday.
It’s “China’s most significant political event of the decade,” Citi analysts wrote in a note last week.
“Congress is poised to launch a new round of political economy,” the Citi report said. “In the short term, this could help reduce political uncertainty and allow Beijing to refocus on economic development.
The national congress is held every five years and is primarily a political event to determine the next group of ruling party leaders.
Xi will likely increase his share of political associates at the top two levels of China’s leadership, according to Eurasia Group, which predicted the majority of its political associates holding Politburo seats will rise from 60% to 80% to 57. 43% percent on the Politburo Standing Committee.
“Larger majorities of Xi’s associates in these bodies would support the Eurasia Group’s view that rising economic hardship and rising tensions across the Strait have not weakened his power, which stems primarily from command of key institutions of an authoritarian regime such as the military, security services, law enforcement, propaganda organs and personnel selection,” according to the August 18 report.
“A reduced representation of Xi’s associates would suggest growing internal resistance to his regime,” they said.
Xi has climbed the Chinese political ladder to officially become president in 2013. He abolished term limits in 2018, and the latest political reshuffle is widely expected to grant him an unprecedented third term.
Premier Li Keqiang, second in command, said he complete his term as Prime Minister in 2022. Other likely changes include foreign policy leadership.
“The congress will thoroughly review the current international and domestic situation,” an official statement in English said.
The meeting will “formulate action plans and fundamental policies,” the statement said.
However, the details of the decisions taken at the party congress are unlikely to be formalized until the annual so-called “two sessions” parliamentary meeting which usually takes place in early March.
End in sight for zero-Covid?
The congress scheduled for mid-October sets a tentative date when China could ease its so-called dynamic zero Covid policy.
“We expect the zero Covid policy to be revised after the October meeting, which will help the economy normalize,” Zhiwei Zhang, president and chief economist of Pinpoint Asset Management, said in a note.
While much of the world has eased most Covid restrictions, Beijing’s attempt to maintain a policy of few or no Covid infections has restricted business activity domestically and kept national borders largely closed for longer. two years.
Citi analysts said the ruling party may even ‘push China’s reconnection[ion] with the hard world as soon as he decides to get out of [dynamic zero-Covid] to regain lost political capital.”
But growth is expected to remain sluggish in the meantime.
“We expect the road to China’s economic recovery to be difficult as local governments are likely to [to] be careful about easing trade restrictions ahead of the 20th Party Congress due to fears of a resurgence of COVID,” said Wei Li, senior China economist at Standard Chartered, and a team in a note dated 15 august.
The company cut its full-year GDP forecast for China to 3.3% from 4.1%. Other banks have repeatedly lowered their expectations to similar levels – well below the country’s official target of around 5.5%.
A collapse of China’s massive real estate industry and slowing global demand – a blow to exports – are further drags on growth.
China’s third-quarter GDP is expected to be released on Oct. 18.
– CNBC’s Jihye Lee contributed to this report.