China appoints Xi Jinping loyalists to core leadership group

Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) walks with members of the new Politburo Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, the nation’s top decision-making body, as they meet with the media at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 23, 2022.

Noël Celis | AFP | fake images

BEIJING — President of China Xi Jinping He broke a precedent on Sunday by paving the way for his third term as president and the likely appointment of a prime minister with no prior experience as deputy prime minister.

Li Qiang, party secretary of Shanghai, came second to Xi in a meeting with the press on Sunday. Li is a known Xi supporter and oversaw strict covid checks in Shanghai earlier this year.

The state positions as president and prime minister will not be confirmed until the next annual meeting of the Chinese government, which is usually held in March.

Outgoing Premier Li Keqiang came second to Xi in a similar meeting with the press after the conclusion of the party’s 19th National Congress in 2017.

Since Li Keqiang, all but the first prime minister of modern China have previously served as deputy prime ministers. Nevertheless, Li Qiang has not previously held a vice premiership, according to a state media biography.

In addition to Xi and Li Qiang, five other people were appointed to the new standing committee of the Politburo, the central circle of power in China’s ruling Communist Party: Zhao Leji, who heads party discipline; Wang Huning, known for his work on ideology; Beijing Party Secretary Cai Qi; Ding Xuexiang, known as Xi’s chief of staff, and Li Xi, Guangdong’s party secretary.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (center) and other members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China meet with the media at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 23, 2022.

Noël Celis | AFP | fake images

In remarks on Sunday, Xi emphasized the Party’s leadership in “a new journey to build China into a modern socialist country,” according to an official translation.

He said that China cannot develop in isolation from the world, but the world also needs China. Xi said that China would open its doors “more and more” and that the country would “deepen reform and open up in all fields and pursue high-quality development.”

Four of the previous seven members of the Politburo standing committee did not appear on the list of new members of the central committee announced on Saturday. The only three left were Xi, Wang Huning, and Zhao Leji.

That central committee determines the central leadership: the Politburo and its standing committee.

High-level economic policy in China is largely set by members of the Politburo. However, Li Keqiang has been an official face and leader of the implementation in his role as prime minister and head of the State Council, China’s top executive body.

Xi holds three key positions: general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, chairman of the Central Military Commission and president of China. Xi had set the stage for an unprecedented third five-year term as president with constitutional changes in 2018.

In addition to purging allegedly corrupt officials, Xi consolidated his power over the past decade with groups that have cycled through the prime minister’s typical economic policymaking responsibilities, Reuters noted.

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Notable ministry heads who remained on the party’s new central committee list included:

  • He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission
  • Yi Huiman, head of the China Securities Regulatory Commission
  • Zhuang Rongwen, head of the Cyberspace Administration of China

The NDRC was also appointed to the new Politburo.

Bruce Pang, chief economist and head of research for Greater China at JLL, said some of the central committee members have backgrounds in finance and local government, telling him “the shakeup will not lead to drastic changes in China’s macro policies.” “. “

“We hope that the policy focus will not be on launching new stimulus, but on implementing existing policies and letting them take effect,” Pang said. “Supporting domestic demand to support jobs remains key.”

Pang also pointed out that Li Qiang previously led three provincial-level areas, including Shanghai, which are known for their contributions to China’s “opening up” and economic growth.

Emphasis on safety and quality.

Xi’s opening speech at the 20th National Party Congress affirmed China’s increased focus on national security and “high-quality” growth. Indeed, this move away from the high-speed growth of recent decades means China faces “a new situation to attract foreign investment” an official with the economic planner said.

While Xi’s report to congress “delivers a strong message of political continuity,” it points out that there are competing goals and that some types of economic growth are preferable to others, Gabriel Wildau, managing director of consultancy Teneo, said in a note. .

“Party leaders want advanced manufacturing and technology to be the key drivers of growth,” Wildau said.

Xi has also emphasized the need for unity within the Chinese Communist Party in order to achieve “national rejuvenation”. The 20th National Congress, which ended on Saturday, agreed to reform the national constitution to incorporate more “Xi Thought”, according to state media.

A question of succession

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