China: Xi Jinping was all but certain of a third term on October 23

Unless he is surprised, Chinese President Xi Jinping was set to win an unprecedented third term at the helm of China on October 23, the day after the end date of the Communist Party Congress announced on Saturday.

Every five years, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) meets in conclave, a major political event to renew the leadership of the country of 1.4 billion people.

In power since 2012, Party General Secretary Xi Jinping, who is also army chief and China’s president, is on the threshold of a third five-year term at the helm of the organization and thus the country.

On Saturday, the CCP confirmed the duration of the event. “The 20th Communist Party Congress opens on Sunday […] and will take place from October 16 to 22,” spokesman Sun Yeli said at a press conference.

In previous editions, the PCC General Secretary and his new team – the Political Bureau and its Standing Committee – had been introduced the day after the congress ended.

– River speech and behind closed doors –

Saturday’s opening press conference took place in front of two giant screens. To cover the congress, journalists have since Friday been required to confine themselves to a “health bubble” as part of strict measures linked to the “zero Covid” policy.

Away in a hotel in western Beijing, accredited journalists are subjected to a series of screening tests.

During this two-hour video conference, the spokesman for the Congress answered questions from the Chinese and foreign press during a well-oiled staging. No questions were asked about Xi Jinping.

“The epidemic is still there, it’s a reality that needs to be faced,” Sun Yeli said when asked about the future of the zero Covid policy, whose negative effects on the economy are becoming increasingly apparent. .

“Everyone cares a lot about China’s economic development,” he said.

“The growth rate is an important indicator, but it is not the only one,” he said, as China is set to reveal its third-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) on Tuesday, marred by draconian lockdowns.

From Sunday, around 2,300 delegates selected by the various party assemblies will meet behind closed doors after a ceremony in Beijing at the Palace of the People, which dominates Tiananmen Square.

Xi Jinping, 69, will take stock of the past five years and deliver his roadmap for the next five in a televised speech.

The previous speech in 2017 lasted more than three hours.

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