Xi Convenes Final Party Meeting Before Leadership Congress

  • Seventh plenum to review Xi’s pivotal congress speech
  • Event brings Chinese leader one step closer to third term

President Xi Jinping kicked off the final meeting of China’s top leaders, days before the opening of a twice-a-decade Communist Party congress that’s set to hand him a landmark third term in power.

The closed-door gathering of the roughly 370 members and alternate members of the Central Committee began Sunday in Beijing, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

Xi outlined the speech he will deliver at the start of the congress on Oct. 16, the most authoritative policy statement for China that’s delivered every five years.

Wang Huning, a member of Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee, gave explanatory remarks on a draft amendment to the party constitution, according to Xinhua. Xi also presented a work report on behalf of the Politburo, the report said, without elaborating.

Like most things in elite Chinese politics, the meeting is taking place behind closed doors, likely concluding with a communique announcing that Xi’s speech and the constitutional amendments have been submitted to the party congress.

The seventh plenum — as this gathering in China’s five-year political cycle is called — will likely bring Xi another step closer to shattering leadership norms by staying in power beyond the party’s de facto retirement age of 68 and two-term standard.

The congress — China’s closest thing to a national election — will see the ruling party install a new 25-member Politburo, from which the all-powerful, seven-seat Standing Committee will be selected. The week-long event also provides a forum to vote on policies and revise the party’s charter, although in reality most of those decisions have been made in advance.

Author: Sarah Zheng, Bloomberg

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