10/23/2022, 13.22
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Xi crushes all internal opposition, gets a third mandate and full control of the Politburo

The Communist Party of China ends its 20th congress with the supreme leader taking everything. Loyalty to Xi trumps actual abilities, especially in the economic field.  Li Qiang becomes the next premier, even though he left millions of Shanghai's residents without food during the lockdown.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – Xi Jinping has crushed all internal opposition, securing a third term in office. This gives him a place in history closer to that of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, laying the foundations for his permanent power.

In addition to the supreme leader, only his allies have made it into the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau (Politburo), the Party’s real decision-making body.

Looking at the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which was unveiled yesterday at the end of the 20th Congress, it was already clear that Xi had won across the board.

Premier Li Keqiang and Wang Yang, leading representatives of the Communist Youth League, Hu Jintao’s faction, were out.

In front of the cameras yesterday, Xi's predecessor was openly escorted out of the hall, officially for some “illness”, more likely as a "punitive" move against the old guard, some observers say.

With this morning's announcement, Xi holds on to the posts of General Secretary of the Party and head of the Central Military Commission.

Next March, at the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC), he is expected to be re-elect him as the country's presidency, along with all other top government officials.

Based on how Xi presented the new members of the Standing Committee, one can speculate about what their future roles.

Li Qiang, CPC secretary in Shanghai, becomes the Party’s number two man and the new premier. Zhao Leji remains in the committee and will most likely lead the NPC.

Wang Huning has also been reconfirmed. He will be number four in the hierarchy, head of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Cai Qi, CPC secretary in Beijing, will be the new head of the Party Secretariat. Li Xi, CPC secretary in Guangdong, takes the powerful Disciplinary Commission. Completing the list is Ding Xuexiang, a close associate of Xi.

Xi has put loyalty to him ahead of actual capabilities, especially in the economic sphere.

The appointment of Li Qiang as premier will raise more than one eyebrow. He was criticised for the way he handled the lockdown in Shanghai when millions of residents were left without food in the spring.

A possible rival on the eve of the Congress, the current Deputy Premier Hu Chunhua, was not even included among the 24 members of the Politburo, the second most important body of the Party.

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