Annual Chinese parliament to enforce Xi’s tightening control

As Xi’s tightening control while coping with a range of difficulties, including an uneven post-COVID economic recovery and deteriorating U.S. relations, China’s annual parliament opens on Sunday and will conduct the largest government overhaul in a decade.

The first National People’s Congress (NPC) of the post-zero-COVID era will take place in the Great Hall of the People, west of Tiananmen Square, with up to 3,000 delegates expected to attend. However, some restrictions still apply, including testing and quarantine for journalists.

After China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong secured a precedent-breaking third term and filled the top of the ruling Communist Party with loyalists during its twice-a-decade congress in October, the rubber-stamp NPC will confirm Xi’s tightening control new economic team.

After China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong secured a precedent-breaking third term and filled the top of the ruling Communist Party with loyalists during its twice-a-decade congress in October, the rubber-stamp NPC will confirm Xi’s tightening control new economic team.

Wen-Ti Sung, a political scientist at the Australian National University, predicted that more State Council ministries will be incorporated into the party under the guise of the party’s comprehensive leadership, with a particular emphasis on public health and national security.

According to police sources and analysts, the government is likely to set a 2023 economic growth target of between 5% and 6% to control unemployment. While there may be other initiatives to increase domestic and foreign investment and consumer spending, few ground-breaking reforms are anticipated.

Last year, China’s GDP grew by barely 3%, which was one of the poorest performances in close to 50 years.

Investors cautiously hope that loyalist Li Qiang, who was formerly Shanghai’s party chief, would be able to usher in more business-friendly policies after an increasingly statist turn as he prepares to take the helm of the second-largest economy in the world.

In order to replace a generation of officials viewed as more reform-oriented, such as retiring Premier Li Keqiang and economic czar Liu He, a deputy premier, the NPC will choose new leaders to the top positions of the principal economic and regulatory institutions, including the central bank.

According to Alfred Wu, an associate professor at the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Affairs at the National University of Singapore, “the National People’s Congress will be a continuation of the 20th Party Congress and will firmly execute Party choices established there, including a focus on security.”

The NPC occurs at a difficult time for China and Xi, who abruptly abandoned his COVID strategy in December after three years as a result of significant protests unheard of during his presidency.

It takes place against the backdrop of a demographic shift in which urban employment fell last year for the first time in six decades and per capita spending also decreased. The population shrank for the first time since 1961.

Headwinds for Xi’s tightening control, which will be confirmed in a third term as president after abolishing constitutional term limits in 2018, include deteriorating relations with the United States, which are restricting China’s access to cutting-edge technologies, and a sluggish global economy.

ROCKING START?

The 63-year-old Li Qiang, a veteran of provincial-level positions whose chances were unaffected by how he handled the debilitating two-month Shanghai COVID lockdown last year, will become the first premier of the People’s Republic to have never held a position in the central administration.

According to Trey McArver, co-founder of Trivium China, a research organization, “the beginning of his tenure could be a bit difficult as he tries to find his position in the State Council and really understand how to make it work for him.”

The top vice-premier, Ding Xuexiang, a longtime Xi assistant, also has no experience managing at the central level.

The congress, which lasts between one and two weeks, will start with the departing Li presenting a work report for 2023, which is anticipated to place a strong emphasis on reviving an economy that has been hurt by three years of COVID controls and a fall in the real estate market.

Xu Hongcai, deputy director of the economic policy commission at the government-backed China Association of Policy Science, told Reuters, “We will work to promote growth and have policy tools to do that, mostly through channeling money into huge projects.”

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply

      Logo
      Compare items
      • Total (0)
      Compare
      0