For Chinese leaders, the Olympics were not the main point of 2022

BEIJING – The just-concluded Winter Olympics were not the biggest event of the year in China – at least inside the country. For the Communist Party, this will take place this fall at a major meeting, which is likely to consolidate Xi Jinping Russia’s position as one of the country’s most powerful leaders in seven decades of communist rule.

The party congress, which is held every five years, is expected to appoint Xi for a third five-year term as its leader, in violation of a recent practice that limited the top man to 10 years in power. That would pave the way for him to run for a third term as president of China at next year’s annual legislative meeting.

For 1.4 billion people in China and the rest of the world, Xi Xi’s rise to power represents at least a partial return to the cult of personality that characterized Mao Zedong’s rule, which ruled communist China from its founding in 1949 until his death in 1976. , and that the party withdrew after the catastrophe of the Mao Cultural Revolution.

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“The party’s 20th congress will be extremely important, though perhaps because there will be no change of leadership,” said Bonnie Glaser, director of the Asian program of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “Xi Jinping is likely to outline his priority program that will provide an understanding of the legacy he hopes to achieve.”

The main goal before Xi Jinping was to “rejuvenate” China, to build it into a strong nation on an equal footing with other major countries. Si has sought to accelerate this process, making it a central part of its mandate and expanding China’s global role.

His Belt and Road initiative has built ports, railways and other infrastructure around the world. Next came Chinese vaccines and other pandemic-related goods. China’s foreign policy has become more muscular as it uses growing military power to lay claim to territory in the Pacific, and rejects Western criticism of the Communist Party’s authoritarian ways.

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While China remains a middle-income country per capita, Xi seems to say it is time for the world’s second-largest economy to become equal in international affairs.

This attitude was demonstrated at the Winter Olympics, which ended in Beijing on Sunday. The Games were held by China on their own termspublicly dismissing Fr. diplomatic boycott led by the United States on human rights in China.

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He still got the leaders off about 20 countries to attend the opening ceremony the most famous Russian Vladimir Putin who finds understanding with C in the face of his own disagreements with America. Others came from Mongolia, Argentina, Ecuador, the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries.

Calls by human rights organizations for the International Olympic Committee to hold the Games outside China and for corporate sponsors to give up support went unheeded.

Glaser said that while the diplomatic boycott was an important signal of growing concern, “more collective action by the wider community is needed, and it remains to be seen whether China’s human rights policy can be influenced.”

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The party congress gathers 2,300 delegates who hear reports and nominally elect their leaders. In fact the names are carefully checked and the results are decided by negotiations between those at the top.

Finally, a handful of members of the new standing committee – the very top of the party leadership – take the stage for the first time, discovering who they are.

It should be noted that the Standing Committee, which appeared at the last Congress in 2017, had no obvious successor to Xi, which has sparked speculation that he was not going to resign in 2022.

This assumption was confirmed when Xi at a meeting of the legislature next year called on lawmakers to lift the two-year limit on the presidency, paving the way for him to remain head of state for more than 10 years. There are no official restrictions on the party leadership.

Another cornerstone of Xi’s rule is: strengthening the Communist Party by promoting patriotism and patriotic research, putting the party’s role at the center of China’s achievements and destroying any dissent through online censorship, detentions and arrests.

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The future of both the party and the nation is deeply intertwined in party statements, which say that China’s path to “rejuvenation” depends on the party and Xi himself.

The Communist Party identified his ideas, known as the Xi Jinping Thought, as a guiding principle and recognized his “leading” role, saying both were crucial to advancing the cause of the party and the country … and for moving forward the historical process of national revival. ».

Xi delivered more than a three-hour speech at the 2017 congress, in which he outlined his vision of building China into a country that will be prosperous, strong and “harmonious” by the middle of the 21st century, when the party hopes to celebrate 100 years. years of communist rule.

“Achieving national rejuvenation is not a walk in the park. It will take more than beating the drum and roaring the gong, ”he said. “Each of us in the party must be willing to work even harder to achieve this goal.”

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Unsurprisingly, the party’s autumn congress is likely to reaffirm Xi’s status as one of China’s three most dominant leaders during the communist era, along with Mao and Deng Xiaoping, who began discovering the country in 1978, leading to its rapid economic recovery. .

While some believe Xi is putting himself on lifelong management, the 68-year-old leader has not given public guidance on his plans.

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Ken Moritsugu is the Associated Press’s Greater China News Director. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/kmorit

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