Xi Jinping to rule China for record third five-year term
Beijing, Oct 23: Chinese President Xi Jinping was on Sunday re-elected as General Secretary of Communist Party of China for a record third five-year term.
Xi, 69, who was elected to the powerful Central Committee by Congress despite crossing the official retirement age of 68 and completing 10-year tenure, was re-elected as the General Secretary of the party on Sunday for a record third-term - a privilege only accorded to party founder Mao Zedong.
The once-in-a-five-year Congress concluded its week-long session on Saturday by electing 205 regular Central Committee members and 171 alternate members. Xi was elected to the Central Committee, which met on Sunday to elect a 25-member Political Bureau which in turn will choose seven or more members to the Standing Committee to govern the country.
The Central Committee members on Sunday elected a 25-member Political Bureau which picked the Standing Committee members to govern the country.
Several names, especially that of 67-year-old Premier Li, the nation's No. 2 official; National People's Congress chairman Li Zhanshu, 72; Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference chairman Wang Yang, 67; and Vice-Premier Han Zheng, 68, were conspicuously missing from the Central Committee list. They are all part of the outgoing seven-member Standing Committee headed by Xi. Both Li and Wang are regarded as moderates.
Li, who steered the Chinese economy for the past ten years and appeared at unease over Xi's emergence of "core leader" on par with Mao, had already announced his decision to quit as Premier early this year. He chose to retire, though he is one year short of the official retirement age of 68 set by the party.
Among the other notables, Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi, 69, was elected to the Central Committee despite crossing the retirement age as he has emerged as a close confidant of Xi on foreign policy issues and expected to make it to the Political Bureau on Sunday. His senior colleague and former foreign minister Yang Jiechi, who was also state councillor, did not make it to the Central Committee.
Besides being the foreign minister, Wang is also the special representative on border talks with India along with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. While China may have a new foreign minister due to his elevation, it is to be seen whether he will remain as special representative of the India-China Boundary mechanism.
Ahead of the 20th Congress, Beijing witnessed rare public protests with banners hung on overpasses of major thoroughfares, protesting against Xi's unpopular zero-COVID policy and authoritarian rule. Banners displayed on a bridge in the district of Haidian, home to universities and tech firms in Beijing, had slogans: food, not COVID test; reform, not a cultural revolution; freedom, not lockdowns; votes, not a leader; dignity, not lies; citizens, not slaves.
Battery-operated loudspeakers were hung in some places blaring anti-Xi and anti-Zero COVID slogans. Police quickly moved to remove the banners and loudspeakers. Similar reports of protests came from different cities of China. After the appearance of the banners, security was further tightened in Beijing with the deployment of police on most of the city's bridges and underpasses.