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China This Week: Xi to Dominate the 19th CPC Congress

Jul 31, 2017

One of the key events leading up to the 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Congress took place in Beijing this week as China's political elites--including cabinet ministers, central government agency heads, provincial party secretaries and governors--gathered to hear President Xi Jinping expound on the major policy directions for the next five years. This meeting cemented the rhetoric of his political and ideological agenda for China.

Xinhua has described the July 26-27 meeting of senior cadres a "tone-setting" meeting for the 19th Party Congress, during which Xi's will be inaugurated for a second five-year term. All signs are pointing to a further consolidation of power---from setting the economic growth agenda to removing a senior official rumored to be a possible successor; from dictating the restructuring of the country's armed forces to pushing his signature "Belt & Road Initiative." Domestically he rallied support around the so-called "Chinese Dream," a social and economic agenda aimed at improving people's livelihood. Internationally, he has been pushing for a more muscular foreign policy, hoping for a global role compatible with China's newly gained economic and political clout.

Unlike the 18th Party Congress where he nominally rose to the top, Xi is expected to dominate the agenda of the Congress this time by deciding on the lineup of the top echelon of the leadership, and adding his political doctrine to the party constitution.

The meeting July 26-27 was an opportunity for senior officials--of which many are already CPC Central Committee members and delegates to the Party Congress--to pledge loyalty to him, as the South China Morning Post describes, citing multiple Chinese scholars. Premier Li Keqiang reiterated this pledge to loyalty, telling senior officials that they should study Xi's speech, and according to Xinhua, "follow its spirit both in thoughts and actions, and stay highly consistent with the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi at its core."

For the latest issue of China This Week, an exclusive weekly review and analysis of major trends and developments impacting the China-U.S. relations, please visit here.

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