China will unveil its new leadership line-up on October 23, a day after the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) 20th national congress, which begins Sunday, wraps up at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
China’s leader Xi Jinping is set to continue as the party general-secretary but large scale changes of the CPC’s leadership including among the top rung of leaders will take place.
Members of the current seven-member Politburo Standing Committee – the highest decision-making body in the CPC hierarchy – are expected to be replaced as part of the changes in leadership.
Current Premier Li Keqiang, member of the standing committee, will no longer carry on as premier but there is speculation whether he might continue in the top group as chief of China’s rubber stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress.
“The 20th party congress will open at 10 o’clock tomorrow at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. It will be held from October 16 to October 22,” Sun Yeli, spokesperson for the congress, announced at a press conference on Saturday.
It has been the norm at several successive congresses to unveil the new leadership a day after the meeting concludes.
Sun confirmed that the CPC constitution will be amended at congress without giving details of what changes will be incorporated.
“The amendment will fully embody the latest achievements in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and to the needs of the times,” Sun said, adding that “It will also enshrine the new ideas, thoughts and strategies on national governance”.
Responding to a question at the press conference, Sun said China’s “dynamic zero Covid” policy to tackle the Covid-19 epidemic are the most cost-effective and have worked the best for the country
“Since the onset of the epidemic, China has put people and people’s lives front and center,” Sun said, adding: “We give top priority to people’s health and safety. This is part and parcel of our epidemic response efforts.”
“Dynamic zero-Covid policy has been adopted in light of China’s national realities and it is a science-based policy,” Sun was quoted by official news agency Xinhua as saying without mentioning the policy’s adverse impact on the country’s economy or on people’s lives.
On Taiwan, Sun said China reserves the right to use force over Taiwan as a last resort though peaceful reunification is its first choice.
“In not promising to renounce the use of force, we are in no way targeting our Taiwan compatriots, but rather foreign interference and an extremely small number of ‘Taiwan independence’ elements and their separatist activities,” Sun said, adding that the goal is to advance the process of China’s peaceful reunification.
Tension between self-governing and democratic Taiwan and China have been high in recent months as Beijing continues to raise military and political pressure on the island, alleging an entente between Taipei and Washington.