December 7, 2022

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On the last day National Congress of the Communist PartyIt is held every five years in Beijing by the Chinese President Xi JinpingIt introduced a new group of leaders that signaled its growing dominance of military and economic power.

Investors expect the nominees to focus on defense and state control rather than pro-business policies, which sent Chinese shares tumbling in Hong Kong and New York on Monday.

For decades, the Politburo Standing CommitteeChina’s extremely powerful political system limited the leader’s power through a convention that ensured the board included politicians of various ages and from all factions of the party.

For the first time since former leader Deng Xiaoping stepped down from top party posts in 1989, the seven-member elite group Created by people close to the leader.

Christopher Fedor, a China expert at Beijing-based research group Gavekal Dragonomics, believes Xi is now on track for at least a fourth five-year term in power from 2027. The new status quo is “victory”. Attacking Xi, he said.

Sunday’s panel, filled with loyalists who owe their lives to their leader, showed that there was no longer a “credible faction of senior officials representing different interests or ideas.” Xi does not have a clear successor, Fedor said.

Xi’s consolidation of power has also prompted warnings that the world’s most populous country is increasingly fitting the definition of an autocracy.

“It’s a complete and utter mastery,” Taizu Zhang, a Chinese expert and professor at Yale University, said on Twitter. “Please don’t tell me again that Chinese politics is a meritocracy.”

Xi’s wrist-snapping comes during his country It faces a crucial moment in the international arena. Relations with the United States and many Western countries have sunk to historic lows as fears grow about an increasingly militaristic administration refusing to rule out a forcible takeover of Taiwan.

“Xi wants loyalists to hold all the levers of power in the Chinese government. Quick and complete compliance seems to be the main objective of these appointments,” said Victor Shih, a professor of Chinese political economy at the University of California, San Diego. .

Shih pointed out that Xi faced the internal political danger of having to take responsibility for the political failures of his allies. “It always helps to have one or two employees to blame when things go wrong.”

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Surrounded by his team of supporters, Xi is likely to step up efforts to make China focus less on growth and more on redistribution and state control, said Andrew Gilholm, head of China analysis at consultancy Control Risks.

There are signs of investor unease as China’s increasingly authoritarian tendencies spill over into the corporate landscape.

US-based WisdomTree Asset Management said on Monday it had removed tech giant Tencent, search engine operator Baidu and social media giant Weibo from its index in China. The move resulted in a turnover of more than a quarter of the index.

Tech companies, long criticized for supporting censorship and stifling dissent in the country, have come under fire this year for promoting content supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“These companies have been pulled from the watch list for violating UN principles as they engage in serious violations of freedom of expression in China,” said Liqian Ren, director of Wisdom Tree.

Yet, judging by Xi’s record over the past ten years in power, the 69-year-old is known for taking calculated risks.

“It’s dubious to say that Xi will now suddenly mount some serious campaign against the growth of private companies and the wealthy, as congressional decisions allow,” Gilholm said. “It’s not clear to me that Ji was embarrassed by the others and will now go into full demolition mode.”

As Xi begins a new term, breaking the two-term limit for China’s leader, the six members below the supreme leader are:

Li Qiang, 63

Shanghai party leader Li has been one of Xi’s closest allies for two decades. He served directly under Xi when the president ruled Zhejiang province from 2004 to 2007.

While Li has long been considered a rising star, his government’s chaotic handling of the Covid outbreak in Shanghai earlier this year has fueled some uncertainty about his political future.

Now he is poised to succeed Li Keqiang as prime minister. Although Li Qiang has no experience in central government, he has a history of supporting private sector development.

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Li’s rapid rise – from a provincial post to premier with key responsibilities for the Chinese economy – is seen as a clear sign that Xi has prioritized loyalty over experience.

Zhao Leji, 65

Along with Wang Huning, Zhao Leji also survives Xi’s sweeping changes at the top of the party. A trusted ally and chief of staff of Xi since 2012, he is seen as a skilled and loyal bureaucrat in handling key party-state appointments.

He took over as Xi’s anti-corruption chief in 2018 from Wang Qishan, who at the time warned the party would prioritize cracking down on “disloyal and dishonest” people and “preventing the creation of interest groups and usurping political power.” Officials noted.

The responsibilities of chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s main political advisory body, and chairman of China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress, will go to either Zhao or Wang.

Wang Huning, 67

Ji’s ideological guru supports the leader’s ambition to deepen party control and the country’s self-reliance.

A rarity in the new leadership, Wang was also an influential political adviser to Xi’s predecessors. The former policy professor was appointed to China’s highest political body in 2017. He has extensive experience among Chinese leaders, having been appointed special assistant to the Central Policy Research Council in 1995 by then-President Jiang Zemin.

According to Cheng Li of the Brookings Institution, Wang is believed to be an important source of Xi’s conventional political ideas and more assertive foreign policy. Wang argues that China’s reform should not proceed at the expense of stability and that a strong and unified central leadership is critical to the country’s development.

Kai Kui, 66

He has been the party leader in Beijing since 2017. He is also considered one of Xi’s closest allies. The two worked together at various points in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, when Xi was a rising provincial leader in Fujian and Zhejiang.

In 2017, Cai joined the Politburo, a group of Xi’s allies.

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His leadership in Beijing was marked by a drastic expulsion of migrant workers from the capital. His credentials have improved after handling the Beijing Winter Olympics and the Covid outbreaks this year.

Brookings’ Cheng Li says Cai is known for vigorously expressing his loyalty to Xi and could be in the running to lead the Central Discipline Inspection Commission, the Chinese Communist Party Secretariat, Xi’s Politburo, or perhaps the Chinese Communist Party. CPPCC, a political consultative body.

Ding Xuxian, 60

He advanced his career in Shanghai, where he was promoted to chief of party secretaries, including Xi for a time in 2017.

Despite the fact that Ding has never served as a party leader in a city or province in China, he is still seen as one of Xi’s favorite supporters.

Since Xi ascended to the party leadership a decade ago, Ding has served as director of the Office of the Chairman, essentially as Xi’s personal aide. In 2017, he was elected to the 25-member Politburo and nominated for promotion.

Although he has no background in governing a province, he is expected to become vice premier, meaning he will be responsible for helping Li Qiang manage China’s economy.

Li C, 66

Li Xi’s relationship with Xi Jinping spanned four decades through Li Zhiqi, Li’s former patron in Gansu, northwest China, and Xi’s father. For the past five years, he has been the party chief in Guangdong, a launching pad for higher posts.

Before leading the technology center in southern China, he served as party chief in Liaoning in the north, where he built a reputation for taking a tough stance on corruption and party discipline, in line with Xi’s policies.

He is one of the leading candidates to become Xi’s anti-corruption chief. As head of the CCDI, the party’s much-feared internal watchdog, he will take charge of Xi’s anti-corruption campaign, which has investigated 4 million party members and removed hundreds of senior officials over a decade.

(Coloboro Seng Leng)