02/27/2023, 13.26
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Ahead of the 'two sessions', Communist Party gets stronger, government weakened

by John Ai

China’s parliament and main advisory body are set to start their annual meeting. The government reshuffle will be made official. Xi Jinping's third term should strengthen his position. Further centralisation of the decision-making process is expected.

Rome (AsiaNews) – The plenary assembly of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is currently underway in Beijing tasked with choosing the new members of the government before the start on 4 March of the "two sessions" (Lianghui), i.e. the annual meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).

Xi Jinping's third term as president begins with the NPC meeting, while most members of the Politburo will retire. The plenary is planning an overhaul of party and state bodies to reinforce Xi's power.

According to Ming Pao, a new body affiliated with the CPC’s Central Committee will be established to oversee public security, immigration, anti-terrorism, counter-espionage and even the administration of social organisations.

This restructuring means that the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of State Security, formerly under the Council of State, will be transferred to the new body, the Central Internal Affairs Committee.

The move will further weaken the government and reinforce the party, thus limiting the role of the prime minister and the State Council in decision-making.

China’s official Xinhua news agency hinted that the restructuring is under discussion in the party’s plenary but has not provided more details. Some reports suggest that Public Security Minister Wang Xiaohong will head the new body.

According to analysts, the super committee idea is taken from the Soviet Union’s People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), which conducted the Great Purge under Stalin and oversaw security agencies and forced labour camps.

Chen Xi, head of CPC’s organisation department, is believed to be in charge of the overhaul. He was Xi's classmate at Tsinghua University.

Xi's close ally Li Qiang will take over from Li Keqiang as prime minister. Analysts say that the restructuring of the State Council will blur the border between party and government, weakening Li Keqiang's influence and increase that of Xi’s protégé.

After the 19th party congress in 2018, China launched a massive overhaul of party and state bodies. The National Supervisory Commission, the supreme anti-corruption body, was established to monitor officials.

Some State Council functions were transferred to the Party, which was regarded as a reversion to the highly centralised party-state model that existed before Deng Xiaoping's reform and opening.

Ming Pao reports the scale of the restructuring this time could be even greater than five years ago.

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