China’s lead­ers to hold key con­clave next week

The Korea Times - - WORLD -

BEI­JING (AFP) — China’s rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party will hold a long-de­layed lead­er­ship meet­ing next week, state me­dia said Thurs­day, as Bei­jing bat­tles un­rest in Hong Kong, a lin­ger­ing trade war, and a slow­ing econ­omy.

The Fourth Plenum of the party’s Cen­tral Com­mit­tee is a closed-door meet­ing of high-rank­ing of­fi­cials where the coun­try’s roadmap and fu­ture di­rec­tion is dis­cussed.

Next week’s meet will run from Oct. 28 to 31 in Bei­jing, and will be the first since Fe­bru­ary 2018.

State news agency Xin­hua said the dates were con­firmed at a meet­ing Thurs­day of the Cen­tral Com­mit­tee Po­lit­i­cal Bu­reau, chaired by Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping.

The state-run Global Times said on Twit­ter that the Polit­buro would up­date on “up­hold­ing and im­prove­ment of the so­cial­ist sys­tem with Chi­nese char­ac­ter­is­tics, in­clud­ing mod­ern­iz­ing the coun­try’s gov­er­nance sys­tem and ca­pac­ity.”

Many of the coun­try’s most sig­nif­i­cant poli­cies have been an­nounced af­ter plenum meet­ings, with the last one in Fe­bru­ary 2018 fo­cused on a re­form plan for state in­sti­tu­tions, giv­ing even more power to the party.

The one be­fore that ap­proved the scrap­ping of pres­i­den­tial term lim­its, al­low­ing Xi to stay in of­fice for life.

‘Na­tional in­ter­ests’

While the CCP’s con­sti­tu­tion says there must be a plenum at least once per year, next week’s long-awaited con­clave will end a sig­nif­i­cant de­lay be­tween ses­sions.

Ex­perts at the Cen­ter for Strate­gic and In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies (CSIS) said hold­ing the plenum in Oc­to­ber would rep­re­sent the long­est hia­tus since 1977.

Their anal­y­sis in Au­gust con­cluded that most plenums oc­cur ev­ery 300 to 400 days, but this one would mark a de­lay of at least 580 days.

While the long wait has sparked spec­u­la­tion that Xi is fac­ing power strug­gles or op­po­si­tion within the party lead­er­ship, the CSIS said a sim­pler ex­pla­na­tion is pos­si­ble — that the de­lay marks a bal­anc­ing out af­ter the last two plenums were held very close to­gether, in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary 2018.

“Since the Third Plenum, Xi has con­vened two ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ings of all the top Party, State and Mil­i­tary lead­ers,” wrote China-watcher Bill Bishop on Mon­day on his Sinocism blog.

The abil­ity to call such high-pro­file meet­ings re­flects Xi’s power and au­thor­ity, he added.

Eleanor Ol­cott, China pol­icy an­a­lyst at re­search firm TS Lom­bard, said the plenum was likely to fo­cus on gov­er­nance and strength­en­ing party con­trol, as well as six new free trade zones and greater au­ton­omy for the south­ern city of Shen­zhen, just over the bor­der from Hong Kong.

“Xi has been keenly stress­ing all of the haz­ards to the party, out­lin­ing what are the great­est threats to the party,” she said.

“Any moves to al­ter the CCP gov­er­nance for­mat will be framed as based on China’s own na­tional in­ter­ests rather than a re­sult of ex­ter­nal pres­sure. The con­text of the trade war makes this all the more im­por­tant.

“This plenum will be part of Bei­jing’s pro­pa­ganda cam­paign against for­eign ‘black hands’ seek­ing to sub­vert the PRC.”

Bei­jing marked the 70th year of Com­mu­nist rule in China ear­lier this month with an enor­mous mil­i­tary pa­rade that showed off the coun­try’s mil­i­tary strength.

But the cen­tral gov­ern­ment has also been shaken by months of anti-Bei­jing un­rest in semi-au­ton­o­mous Hong Kong, a slow­ing do­mes­tic econ­omy, and the im­pact of a pro­tracted trade im­passe with the United States.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Korea, Republic

© PressReader. All rights reserved.