Date: 6th October, 2022 | Time: 6 pm to 7 pm IST | Platform: Zoom and live stream on YouTube
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will hold its 20th National Congress (Party Congress) from 16 October. 2296 delegates carefully selected by the Party’s central leadership from party units at the provincial level and below, besides representatives from the People’s Liberation Army and other similar important bodies will attend the once in five years meeting. The one week-long meeting will review the report on work done during the past five years, and lay down policies for the coming five years and beyond. The ‘election’ of the new leadership of the Party for the next five years, that includes the Central Committee, will also be held during the meeting. The Central Committee will meet subsequently and choose the all-powerful Politburo and its Standing Committee. The new government that will be sworn in March 2023 at the 14th National People’s Congress (NPC – the national parliament) will be more or less a mirror image of the new leadership chosen during the Party Congress.
It is almost certain that General Secretary Xi Jinping will get an unprecedented third term to lead Party for another five years. With the two-term limit for the President removed five years ago, this will pave way for his taking over as the Chinese President in March next year. With all possible titles that Mao Zedong once held already under his belt, what is to be watched is whether Xi Jinping will be anointed the Chairman of the CCP with all the accompanying powers and privileges the former had during his lifetime. While the differences that have cropped up between Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang might be kept under the wraps, the problems between Xi Jinping and the PLA on the Party’s leadership role over the latter might be one of the topics receiving serious attention at the top-level Party hierarchy.
The Chinese economy that is transitioning from an investment-low end manufacturing-export model to a model based on increased domestic consumption-services-innovative high end manufacturing has suffered greatly with Xi Jinping refusing to relax the Covid-related restrictions under his ‘zero tolerance’ policy even after 32 months. Besides Covid, problems in the real estate sector, clamp down on big high-tech companies, increasing job losses, deterioration of trade relations with the US, Japan and other Western countries, the Taiwan imbroglio, war in Ukraine etc. have also added to the worries. How the country is going to prop up the economy that registered a meagre 0.4 growth in the second half this year with the new projections for 2022 annual growth hovering around a mere 3 percent, the probability of unprecedented job losses leading to social unrest is a major cause of worry for the Chinese leadership. The Belt and Road Initiative-related pushback China is experiencing from several partner countries is another issue that would be in focus in the Party Congress.
Campaigns like the China Dream, Rejuvenation of the Great Chinese Nation etc. are rooted in the concept that the country needs to recover its lost glory and rightful place among the comity of nations after a ‘hundred years of humiliation’. The current CCP leadership seems to be following a modern version of the old concept of Tian Xia (heaven’s mandate) wherein Zhong Guo (China, the middle kingdom/the centre of the world) has the mandate to lead the world. While achieving the target to becoming ‘a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious’ by 2049, the centenary year of establishing the People’s Republic, China wants to lead the world from its ‘rightful place’ at the top. The ongoing manoeuvres in South and East China Seas, Taiwan, the Himalayan borders with India, Bhutan, Nepal etc. are a part of this strategy.
After completing studies at the University of Kerala, Muraleedharan Nair did a Post-graduate programme in Marketing and Advertising from Bhavan’s Rajendra Prasad Institute of Communication and Management, Mumbai. He has held various positions in the Government, in India and abroad. Besides publishing research papers in various books and journals, Mr Nair writes commentaries in newspapers and magazines regularly. He also participates in conferences, seminars and panel discussions on strategic affairs at different universities, think tanks, TV channels, All India Radio, etc. A Distinguished Senior Fellow with Defence Research and Studies, he speaks Urdu and Chinese.
A Postgraduate in Geopolitics and International Relations from the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations at Manipal Academy of Higher Education. Anirudh has researched and published multiple works on National security over the years. As an ardent researcher of Terrorism, Anirudh has conducted extensive research on Counter-Terrorism over the years to understand the deep-lying factors of terrorism. In the past, Anirudh has worked for CLAWS, Delhi, on Counter-Terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir as a Research Intern.