Chinese President Xi Seizes Total Control
All signs point to Chinese President Xi Jinping being named as the General Secretary of the Chinese Community Party when the group’s 20th National Congress concludes on October 23rd.
General Secretaries traditionally serve two 5-year terms before handing the position to a successor who has already been appointed to the Politburo or Politburo Standing Committee. Anyone 68 or older is expected to retire.
In this case, Xi will begin his third 5-year term as General Secretary. At age 69, he is set to become the longest-serving dominant leader to hold office in Beijing. With term limits abolished in 2018, he is likely to remain in power until the end of his days
The CCP congress occurs every 5 years and involves some 2,300 delegates from across the country. The main purpose of the event is to name the General Secretary of the CCP and appoint new members to the Central Committee, which decides who makes it into the Politburo (20-25 officials) and the Politburo Standing Committee (7-9 officials). The event also serves as an opportunity for CCP officials to present new policies and offer guidance about the future.
During a two-hour speech delivered at the start of the congress, Xi celebrated China’s “victories” over the pandemic (during which Beijing “protected people’s lives and health”), Hong Kong (a renegade city that was brought from “chaos to governance”), and Taiwan (whose “independence forces” caused China to engage in “major struggles”).
Since coming to power in 2012, President Xi has led an enthusiastic “anti-corruption” campaign to remove all potential opponents and replace them with individuals loyal to him or pliant enough to follow his lead. Even high-ranking Party members may find themselves arrested and imprisoned for something as innocent as writing an essay criticizing Xi’s behavior.
Using tactics comparable to those used by Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, Xi has made himself virtually untouchable. He has even gone after close associates of his longtime friend, Vice President Wang Qishan.
“Going into his third term, Xi is in a strong position to shape personnel picks for key posts. He has already maneuvered allies into important positions over his first two terms, giving him greater influence over the personnel appointment processes that takes place behind closed doors,” explains Brian Hart, fellow at the China Power Project at the US-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Unlike his predecessors, he does not have to compete with any apparent successor, giving him broad influence over decisions.”
Xi’s obsessive desire to maintain his position and enforce loyalty to the CCP extends even to Chinese nationals living in other countries. As I wrote a few weeks ago, China has opened more than 50 police stations in more than 30 countries to keep tabs on its people (read more here)
Over the next five years, China will “speed up efforts to achieve greater self-reliance in science and technology” and focus on the “high quality education” of its youth, said Xi during his speech. In other words, China will continue to steal intellectual property from the US and brainwash its children with Communist doctrine.
In addition to President and General Secretary, Xi is also head of the Chinese Military Commission (CMC). With all three titles under his belt, Xi has near total control of the most-populous nation on Earth. His thoughts on socialism have even been added to the nation’s constitution. Before Xi, only Chinese dictator Mao Zedong (1893-1976) had an ideology named after him.
“[Xi] wants to become the successor to Mao and even wants to make China the sole rightful inheritor of the global Communist movement today,” warns political lecturer Wu Qiang. “Through this, he wants to establish China’s future position in the international community – a dream of a major Red Power.”
In 2021, Xi supported amendments to China’s National Defense Law which shifted control over any future mass mobilization of non-military Chinese from a civilian organization to the CMC. More recently, he instructed CCP operatives to seize privately-owned factories in order to ramp up the production of military equipment.
Chinese citizens fear the impact Xi’s continued leadership will have on civilian and political freedoms, though news of his third term as General Secretary is expected to have a more immediate affect on Taiwan. Over the past few years, Xi has made his plans to annex the island using whatever means necessary painfully clear (read more here).
Xi also intends to grab territory from India, Japan, and the Philippines – but his ambitions don’t stop there. Xi’s doctrine frames Chinese leaders as the rightful rulers of the planet: “The Chinese have always held that the world is united and all under heaven are one family,” said Xi in his 2017 New Year’s address.