China on Sunday began a key meeting of its top leadership ahead of 20th national congress of Communist Party of China (CPC), with President Xi Jinping delivering a work report at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Xi delivered the work report on behalf of the CPC Central Committee’s Political Bureau (Politburo), briefing the to the 20th CPC national congress on the draft report by the outgoing 19th CPC Central Committee, the official news agency Xinhua reported.
More than 300 senior CPC officials attended Sunday’s meeting and all attending officials were also expected to be briefed on the outlines of the party’s political and economic policies besides deliberating draft amendments to the CPC constitution.
An official communique said the 19th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) – China’s anti-graft watchdog – was also set to submit a report during the meeting.
Xi is expected to secure an unprecedented third term at the end of the congress, which begins on October 16 and will continue for at least a week. The date on which the new leadership – besides Xi — will be unveiled is yet to be announced.
Xi, 69, securing a third term means a break from a party custom of leaders retiring at the age of 68.
During the previous national congress held in October 2017, a report titled Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics was incorporated into the party constitution. The move was understood to be an acknowledgment of the Chinese president’ s growing stature and influence.
This time, the ideology could be shortened to Xi Jinping Thought. By the end of the congress, Xi will likely emerge as a leader with stature equal to Mao Zedong, modern China’s founding father. He is expected to continue as the President, head of the Central Military Commission and, most importantly, as the CPC general secretary – the source of his power.
As many as 2,296 delegates will attend a series of meetings leading up to the and during the congress.
As many as 2,296 delegates will attend a series of meetings leading up to the and during the congress. A total of 771 delegates, or 33.6% of the total, are from the frontlines of “work and production”, including 192 workers or migrant workers, 85 farmers, and 266 professionals and technicians, Xinhua reported.
“The number of female delegates reached 619, or 27 percent of the total, an increase of 2.8 percentage points compared with the 19th CPC National Congress five years ago,” the report said, adding: “There are 264 ethnic minority delegates, who are from 40 ethnic minority groups”.
A tight security cover has been put around Beijing with authorities banning the use of drones and low-flying objects until the end of the month.
Entry into the city is being strictly monitored with additional Covid-19 prevention protocols requiring those coming in to carry mandatory health certificates and to isolate in designated hotels and quarantine zones if coming in from areas with Covid cases. Outdoor activities are also being restricted in the city.