(TibetanReview.net, Oct22’22) – The week-long 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) ended on Oct 22 with some dramatic developments, leaving no one in any doubt that it will now be Xi Jinping’s China that the Chinese people as well as leaders of countries across the world will have to reckon with. Former President Hu Jintao, sitting next to current President Xi Jinping, was unceremoniously removed during the closing ceremony while four of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee, not known to be close to President Xi, are out of positions of power.
Prime Minister Li Keqiang, a proponent of economic reforms, will not be part of the central committee of the CPC, with his name not included in a list of new members at the end of the congress.
Li had already announced that he would not run again at the annual meeting of the People’s Congress in March after two terms in office. However, there were still speculations that he might become the head, or speaker, of parliament, which would effectively have made him the second-most powerful political actor after Communist Party general secretary and President Xi.
Wang Yang, who is known to be more market-oriented and a potential premier candidate, was not included in the new list of 205 members of the central committee of the CPC.
Li Qiang, Shanghai’s party secretary, and other President Xi Jinping loyalists remained on the central committee list.
In all, four of the current seven members of the Politburo standing committee, China’s top decision making body, were not on the list.
This included the current speaker, Li Zhanshu, who was also not listed among the new members of the central committee of the CPC.
Neither Li Keqiang nor Wang Yang is seen to have long-standing ties with Xi. Current members Wang Huning, 67 and Zhao Leji, 65, who are both perceived to be close to Xi, are expected to be reappointed to the Politburo Standing Committee.
The central committee will meet for its first plenary session on Oct 23 to approve the new Politburo and its Standing Committee.
It is also expected to confirm Xi as the party’s general secretary for a rare third term, disregarding traditionally respected age and term limits.
The party approved amendments to its constitution aimed at cementing the core status of Xi and the guiding role of his political thought within the party as it wrapped up its twice-a-decade congress.
Meanwhile, former President Hu Jintao was led out of the Beijing’s Great Hall of the People during the closing ceremony of the congress in full view of everyone and shown live on TV. A confused-looking, 79-year-old Hu was escorted out by stewards. Hu, who was seated beside current President Xi Jinping, initially seemed reluctant to walk out before finally giving in, as a steward led him out holding his arms.
On his way out, Hu, party general secretary and state president from 2003 to 2013, had brief exchanges with Xi and the premier, Li Keqiang.
No explanation has surfaced so far for Hu’s abrupt departure from the Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.
Video taken by AFP showed a steward repeatedly trying to lift Hu from his seat, drawing concerned looks from many officials seated nearby, noted Reuters Oct 22.