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How does the Chinese Communist Party congress work?

Organized every five years, it allows to renew its governing bodies. On Wednesday, the 19th Congress opened with, at the key, the designation of Xi Jinping for a second term.

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How does the Chinese Communist Party congress work?
The 19th Congress of Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which opens in Beijing on Wednesday, October 18, for a week at People's Palace, Tiananmen Square, in heart of capital, is great event of country's political life. Its mission is to renew governing bodies of single party governing China, in this case central Committee of Party (205 members), n its new political Bureau (25 members) and its Standing Committee (7 members).

If current secretary general and President of People's Republic of China, Xi Jinping, is to be renewed for a second term at head of party, as it is customary, composition of new direction will be scrutinized by magnifying glass in what it says of Consolidation of its power and succession plans. The amendments expected to party's Charter will inform m of choice of ideological contribution of Xi Jinping to building of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

This vast cyclical process of designating governing teams allows for an important generational renewal within party's collegiate bodies, which is undoubtedly one of forces of Chinese authoritarian system. According to Sino-American political scientist Cheng Li, members of sixth generation (Xi Jinping embodies fifth) will undoubtedly form majority of Central Committee from 19th Congress, against just 18% for outgoing Central Committee.

How does Congress unfold?

The 19th Congress will open on activity report of outgoing Central Committee. Read by Xi Jinping and drafted under his authority, it reflects in a very formatted and consensual way major stages of past mandate. The party will n proceed to renew its governing bodies. 2 280 delegates from some forty electoral districts ( provinces, but also army, police or state-owned companies) will "elect" 205 members of Central Committee and ir 171 alternates. The elimination of about 10% of candidates, and publication of number of votes collected by alternate members, is only indication of degree of unpopularity of certain candidates. It should be known that when he entered Central Committee as an alternate member at 15th Congress of 1997, Xi Jinping arrived ... last on list.

For rest, it is top selection: "We have never seen a future provincial secretary, minister or, a fortiori, potential member of political Bureau, even unpopular among delegates, not to be elected at first to Central Committee and Even less among long list of delegates to Congress, writes Jean-Pierre Capstan in his reference book on Chinese political system ( new authoritarian balance, science presses PO, 2014).

The new central Committee from 19th Congress will, in its first plenum, designate political Bureau and, above all, supreme governing body of party, Standing Committee. Again, no vote: The lists are prepared in high places, according to unwritten rules of seniority and following obscure negotiations and balancing games between different forces in presence. The Central Committee also designates Central Disciplinary Committee of party, which has taken on a great deal of importance under Xi Jinping as it leads fight against corruption, as well as Central Military Commission, whose format could be Redesigned.

What are stakes?

The main issue is ultimately "stability" of political transition – that is, its inclusion in a set of formal and informal rules that avoid unforeseen force strikes and underground manoeuvres as approach to succession. This year, many seats are to be filled due to retirements or purges: 5 out of 7 to Standing Committee, 12 out of 25 to political Bureau, and 5 out of 11 to central military Commission – not to mention many central committee seats. It is of course composition of Standing Committee, announced at first plenum of new Congress, day after its closing on 25th October, which is most important.

In its study of four previous Congresses, American Sinologist Alice Miller noted prevalence of three rules for selection of future members of Standing Committee: The age limit (68 years for inbound), prior passage by office Political, except possibly for two designated successors of President and prime Minister, and finally, seniority. This model allows him to project a reduced assortment of potential electors. The respect or name of se rules by a Xi Jinping who has jostled certain established uses of party and refocused power in his hands, is subject of fierce debates among observers of Chinese politics.

Is Xi Jinping going to dynamite rules?

Xi Jinping has already questioned sixth generation of duo of politicians and programmed to succeed him as well as to Prime Minister: one of m, Sun Zhengcai, former secretary of Chongqing party and younger member of Bureau Political, was arrested for bribery and expelled from party a few weeks ago; The second, Hu Chunhua, current secretary of Guangdong party, is still in running. He could be joined to Standing Committee by Chen Min'er, a close relative of Mr. Xi just placed at head of Chongqing in lieu of Mr. Sun. Mr Chen, in this case, would go directly to Standing Committee without going through political Bureau, as fit Xi Jinping en 2007.

The or three seats would be in order of seniority to current members of fifth generation political office. There would be close allies of Xi Jinping, such as Li Zhanshu or Zhao Leji, but also representatives of only important rival faction, one that brings toger executives who made ir first weapons, like current Prime Minister Li Keqiang, within of Youth League (like Wang Yang, for example). However, this was deliberately weakened by Xi Jinping. His first secretary, Qin Yizhi, was recently dismissed from office. Everything indicates that Xi Jinping is going to raise his faction, known as "Zhijiang Army", in provinces and major institutions.

What will become of Wang Qishan, responsible for fight against corruption?

The style of governance of Xi Jinping led observers of Chinese politics to say that he was man of a certain rupture: will he reshape leadership of party, or remain for a third term? The fate of current leader of formidable Central Disciplinary Committee of party, anti-corruption arm, feeds speculations. Mr. Wang, 69 years old and a member of current Standing Committee, is expected to retire, since use is that re is no more than 68 years. However, Xi Jinping could wish to keep this ally extremely valuable and effective at his side. And by passing rule of "retreat", create a precedent to remain in power after 20th Congress, in 2022.

On this point as on ors, Chinese journalist Wang Xiangwei, who distils highly informed forums in Hongkong's South China morning Post, changes "could be much less spectacular than many think": Mr. Xi "will be" Concerned in all likelihood of maintaining political continuity and stability when considering candidates for supreme positions. Mr. Wang Presages for Wang Qishan a leading role of "one or two leadership groups" set up by Mr Xi to impose his decisions on existing bodies of party and Government in economic, military, but also security fields.

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