AP

China expected to grant Xi 5 more years, no major changes

Oct 15, 2022, 4:48 AM | Updated: Oct 16, 2022, 2:13 am

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, delegates attend a preparatory meeting ahead of the 2...

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, delegates attend a preparatory meeting ahead of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. China on Sunday is opening a twice-a-decade party conference at which leader Xi Jinping is expected to receive a third five-year term that breaks with recent precedent and establishes himself as arguably the most powerful Chinese politician since Mao Zedong. (Huang Jingwen/Xinhua via AP)

(Huang Jingwen/Xinhua via AP)

BEIJING (AP) — China on Sunday opens a twice-a-decade party conference at which leader Xi Jinping is expected to receive a third five-year term that breaks with recent precedent and establishes himself as arguably the most powerful Chinese politician since Mao Zedong.

Xi is expected to issue a lengthy address at the opening session, but little change is foreseen in his formula of strict one-party rule, intolerance of criticism and a hard-line approach toward COVID-19 including quarantines and travel bans even as other countries have opened up.

As with most Chinese political events, little information has been released beforehand and the congress’ outcome will only be announced after several days of closed-door sessions. How much has been decided in advance and how much is still to be hashed out in face-to-face meetings also remains unknown.

At a two-hour news conference Saturday, the congress’ spokesperson Sun Yeli reaffirmed the government’s commitment to its “zero-COVID” policy despite the economic costs, and repeated its threat to use force to annex self-governing Taiwan.

But Sun offered few details about what if any changes would be enacted to the party’s charter at the meeting, which is expected to last about a week. The congress is the 20th in the history of the century-old party, which boasts some 96 million members, over 2,000 of whom will attend the Beijing meetings.

The changes will “incorporate the major theoretical views and strategic thinking” concluded in the five years since the last congress, said Sun, a deputy head of the Chinese Communist Party’s Propaganda Department who is not well known outside party circles.

The amendment or amendments will “meet new requirements for advancing the party’s development and work in the face of new circumstances and new tasks,” Sun said.

Xi has left little room for further political aggrandizement, having placed himself thoroughly in charge of domestic affairs, foreign policy, the military, the economy and most other key matters overseen by party working groups that he leads.

The congress comes as China’s economy is facing major headwinds amid a near-collapse in the real estate sector and the toll on retail and manufacturing imposed by COVID-19 restrictions that upped the regime’s already intense monitoring of the population and suppression of free speech.

In his remarks, Sun said China would exert all efforts to bring Taiwan under its control peacefully. But he said China would not tolerate what he called a movement toward full independence backed by hard-liners on the island and their overseas backers– presumably the U.S., which is Taiwan’s main source of military and diplomatic support despite the lack of formal relations in deference to Beijing.

Sun also offered no hope China would be backing away from “zero COVID,” which Xi and other leaders have made a political issue despite criticism by the World Health Organization and others that it is not a practical long-term solution given improvements in vaccines and therapies.

Many expect the policy to be continued at least until March, which Xi is expected to be given his third term as president and other top Cabinet leaders are installed.

While Xi faces no open opposition, his parting with the party’s former collegial leadership style to concentrate power in his own hands does rankle among the public and party officials, said political observer and dissident Yin Weihong, who has faced repeated police harassment for his opposition views.

“There’s a sense that he’s taken a cake formally divided amongst several and decided he’ll just have it all to himself,” Yin said in a phone call from his home south of Shanghai.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona doctors California abortions...

Associated Press

Arizona doctors can come to California to perform abortions under new law signed by Gov. Newsom

Arizona doctors can temporarily come to California to perform abortions for their patients under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

8 hours ago

Father convicted of first-degree murder in northern Arizona...

Associated Press

Arizona man convicted of first-degree murder in starvation death of 6-year-old son

A northern Arizona father was convicted of first-degree murder Thursday in the 2020 starvation death of his 6-year-old son.

10 hours ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in a courtroom next to his lawyer Todd Blanche before the start ...

Associated Press

Trump hush money trial enters new phase after defense rests without testimony from former president

Donald Trump's hush money trial is now closer to the moment when the jury will begin deciding the former president's fate.

2 days ago

UoA student convicted of first-degree murder after killing professor...

Associated Press

Former Arizona grad student convicted of first-degree murder in 2022 shooting of professor

A former University of Arizona grad student was convicted of first-degree murder after fatally shooting a professor on campus two years ago.

2 days ago

Rudy Giuliani bankruptcy filing defamation lawsuit...

Associated Press

Ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Arizona’s Kelli Ward plead not guilty in fake elector case

Giuliani appeared remotely for the arraignment that was held in a Phoenix courtroom. His trial will take place in October.

3 days ago

President Joe Biden gestures after speaking to graduating students at the Morehouse College commenc...

Associated Press

Biden tells Morehouse graduates that scenes in Gaza from the Israel-Hamas war break his heart, too

Joe Biden on Sunday offered his most direct recognition of U.S. students' anguish over the Israel-Hamas war.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

China expected to grant Xi 5 more years, no major changes