07/29/2022, 14.09
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Xi Jinping presents his strategy for the next five years

This suggests he has secured a third term in office. In a speech, Xi calls for action against economic imbalances. A return to a more centralised economy is possible, but so is an agreement with Li Keqiang’s pro-market faction. According to well-known activist Wei Jingsheng, with or without Xi, the Communist Party will decline.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Xi Jinping presented his political strategy for the next five years at a symposium held in the capital on Tuesday and Wednesday. His plan is designed to build a modernised socialist country.

According to several observers, this is a further sign that the Chinese president is sure to get a third term in power, which would be unprecedented after the eras of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

All members of the Politburo Standing Committee, including Premier Li Keqiang and Vice President Wang Qishan, attended the high-level meeting, considered a prelude to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), scheduled for the fall.

High-level officials from the central and provincial administrations were also present. They heard Xi say that the authorities must address the problem of the country’s “unbalanced and insufficient development”.

For some analysts, the use of Marxist phraseology could indicate that Xi is prepared to return to a more centralised economy at the expense of the more open market economy that has developed over the past 40 years.

Without citing them, Xi seems to be repeating his famous slogans about shared prosperity, dual internal and external circulation, as well as economic self-sufficiency. For critics though, the president’s orientations are responsible for the country's economic woes of the past year.

In his opening speech at the symposium, Premier Li said that officials and leaders must study Xi's thinking and follow his guidelines in what seems to be a further sign that the Chinese president has free rein to stay in power.

It could also mean that Li reached a deal with Xi on the future balance of power within the Party and government, with an important role for the Communist Youth faction headed by Li.

In recent months Xi has had to give Li more leeway to put the economy back in order after it was hit hard by the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the president’s centralising policies.

Speaking on Radio Free Asia, veteran pro-democracy activist Wei Jingsheng, now exiled in the United States, argues that Xi's re-election is not a foregone conclusion.

For Wei, the fact that official media have devoted little coverage to the meeting suggests that an internal struggle is underway in the Party.

What is more, whether Xi stays in power or not, infighting will undermine the Party, and accelerate its demise.

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