Key events

In this photo combination taken on Oct. 23, 2022, Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and other new members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (2nd from top left to right) Wang Huning, Cai Qi, Zhao Leji (2nd below). From left to right) Li Xi, Li Qiang and Ding Xuexiang during a meeting with the media at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Photo: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

Here’s more Reuters reaction:

Ja Yang ChongPolitical Scientist, National University of Singapore.

“This certainly seems to be a consolidation of Xi’s position. This means that politics will be more directly tied to Xi Jinping, for better or for worse. My guess is that this means more attention to party-state control of business, less reliance on imports, even as the PRC (People’s Republic of China) tends to export. Therefore, the direct party-state direction of the economy is probably more direct. Investments are likely to be aimed at achieving the above-mentioned goals, especially if they can bring technology. Therefore, while there may be opportunities for investors, they should pay more attention to both market forces and political preferences. So, more of what we’ve already seen.
“Probably, no reversal of the Covid-zero policy and more assertiveness in the external sphere and security in the near future. Even more broadly, friction between the US and China will continue to grow.”

Dylan LochAssociate Professor of Nanyang Technological University:

“It is quite clear that the Politburo is made up of Xi Jinping supporters, and this will mean that he has much more freedom and authority to conduct his domestic and foreign policies, as collective leadership and decision-making diminishes compared to the unification around Xi and the implementation his decisions. It appears he has yet to name a potential successor, giving him flexibility for a fourth term. In terms of investment, I don’t think China’s policy will change dramatically because of this layout, I think overall Xi’s priorities have not changed.”

“Wang Huning’s presence also shows me that the ideological focus of the party and Xi will continue and even deepen.”

Helen Davidson reacted sharply to Xi’s speech:

A rather short speech by Xi Jinping just then announced the composition of the new Standing Committee. They are all seen as Xi loyalists, with the unexpected addition of Cai Qi. Hu Chunhua was nowhere to be seen. Hu, 59, was considered the least sympathetic to Xi Jinping and, having risen through the ranks as a member of the Communist Youth League faction, was seen by some analysts as a potential threat to Xi – as much as is possible in the current context.

In his speech, Xi made some of the same points he made during his 104-minute address at the opening of Congress last Sunday. He again warned of “unstable waters” and “dangerous” storms in China’s future relations with the world. But he said China’s economy will continue to “open up” and with global development and China’s development, both need each other. China has faced economic problems in the past year or so, with growth slowing a lot. But he said China had created a twin miracle of rapid economic growth and long-term social stability, and those fundamentals would not change – suggesting that tight controls on people’s lives and freedoms would remain.

He praised the CCP’s achievements in improving the welfare of the Chinese people and reaffirmed its commitment to further growing into a “modern socialist nation.” He again promised to achieve the “rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”, the goal of which requires the annexation of Taiwan. Before leaving the stage, he invited the world’s media to visit China, saying he “welcomes unbiased and truthful stories about China.” Then he doesn’t answer questions.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at an event to introduce new members of the Politburo Standing Committee at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at an event to introduce new members of the Politburo Standing Committee at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Photo: Andy Wong/AP

Some analysis comes via Reuters:

  • “From a policy-making point of view, it really means that there will probably be more respect for Xi Jinping’s own views on how to move the country and the economy forward,” he said. Alvin Tanhead of Asia FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets in Singapore.

  • “Anomalous one-sided victory by one faction, which is rare in the tradition of the Communist Party, in the past there would have been a rough balance of power,” he said. Willie Lamsenior researcher at the Jamestown Foundation, an American think tank.
    “This means that there will be no checks and balances. Xi Jinping also fully controls the Politburo and the Central Committee,” he said.

Economic growth is “downgraded” as the party’s main goal

Chris Miller, a professor at Tufts University in Massachusetts, said the congress “reaffirmed Xi’s crucial role in running the Communist Party, marking a continued shift away from collective leadership by party elites to a personalized dictatorship.”

“It also seems to have confirmed the downgrading of economic growth as the party’s key objective over other agenda items such as zero COVID and political and ideological control of the party.

“In terms of technology, self-sufficiency in science and technology was a key theme, which is to be expected given the increasing decoupling of the US and Chinese technology sectors,” – said Professor Miller.

Mini profile of Li Qiang

Li Qiang, the party secretary of Shanghai and an ally of Xi, is likely to be appointed as the next premier after Li Keqiang steps down as premier in March after two terms.

After it was revealed on Saturday that Wang Yang, previously seen as a front-runner for the post, had been dropped from a list of about 200 central committee members, Li emerged as a strong candidate for prime minister in his current capacity as Shanghai’s party chief.

Shanghai has historically been a hotbed for top national leaders. While Li’s prospects may have been marred by the chaos of Shanghai’s prolonged quarantine, analysts say Xi values ​​loyalty and reliability above all else, and Li’s strong relationship with Xi over the years has positioned him well. Li was Xi’s chief of staff from 2004 to 2007, when Xi was top party boss of Zhejiang province.

After Xi became China’s top leader, he promoted Li first to governor of Zhejiang and then to party secretary of Jiangsu province, giving him the experience of regional governance and the authority he needed for more important roles.

Li Tian
Li Tian Photo: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

Unlike most previous premiers, Li had no experience as vice premier, but analysts say Li could become vice premier in the next few months by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and then be appointed prime minister in March.

Li has proven to be a staunch follower of Xi – even as Shanghai’s two-month Covid lockdown sparked widespread discontent and caused heavy economic costs, Li insisted on strict implementation of the ‘zero Covid’ policy in Shanghai in line with the ‘spirit of the party secretary’s important mandate’ Xi Jinping.”

Mini profile of Cai Qi

Emma Graham-Harrison

Emma Graham-Harrison

Cai Qi was a big surprise for PSC. Although he appeared on some long lists of potential candidates, the Beijing party secretary was not considered a likely member.

His entrance is further evidence of Xi’s appreciation of both loyalists and people he’s known as he’s worked his way up the corporate ladder. Like Xi, he spent many years in Fujian province early in his career before moving to Zhejiang.

Most recently, he was a prominent proponent of the Zero Covid policy endorsed by Xi and successfully managed the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Cai Qi
Cai Qi Photo: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

Xi Jinping concluded his speech by inviting the world’s journalists to visit China.

It should be noted that conditions for journalists – both foreign and local – have deteriorated significantly during Xi’s rule. American journalists from major publications were expelled in 2020.

Quick response from China observers:

Lee as prime minister also confirms that we won’t see a zero-covid end anytime soon.

— James Palmer (@BeijingPalmer) October 23, 2022

This is the end of the press event, and the week-long party congress has come to an end. #China is in the third five-year rule of Xi Jinping, and the top management consists entirely of people loyal to him.

— William Yang (@WilliamYang120) October 23, 2022

Xi appoints allies to the CPC Standing Committee

Xi Jinping finished his speech.

Reuters reports that Shanghai Communist Party chief Li Qiang followed Xi onto the stage at the National People’s Congress, making him likely to succeed Li Keqiang as premier when he steps down in March.

The other members of the seven-man Standing Committee, China’s top governing body, are Zhao Leji and Wang Huning, who returned from the previous committee, as well as newcomers Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang and Li Xi.

They are all believed to be strongly pro-Xi.

The performance continues.

“China’s development cannot leave the world, and the world’s development also needs it China“, says Si.

Xi says China has created a double miracle – rapid economic growth and long-term social stability. These fundamentals will not change.

China will “open its doors wider” and continue “high-quality development,” he says, using a term increasingly heard from Chinese officials who can no longer talk about China’s high growth rate, which has slowed sharply in recent months.

Xi is still talking. He said China must maintain a high level of readiness for challenges “like a student in endless exams.”

He says the party “can only become invincible if it is committed to self-reform, even if it has had a glorious past.” He said the party has become stronger and more dynamic because of its struggles and achievements in the last century.

Xi’s political thought now officially guides the party’s ideology – not only because he is the current leader, but also after changes to the constitution this week cemented him as the party’s “core”.

Here Xi Jinping (C) and other new members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China:

Chinese President Xi Jinping (c) and other new members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China meet with the media at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing
Chinese President Xi Jinping (c) and other new members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China meet with the media at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Photo: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images