As with most Chinese political events, little information has been released beforehand and the outcome of the congress will only be announced after several days of closed-door sessions. It is also unknown how much has been decided in advance and how much remains to be resolved in face-to-face meetings.
At a two-hour news conference on Saturday, congressional spokeswoman Sun Yeli reaffirmed the government’s commitment to its “zero-COVID” policy despite the economic costs, and reiterated her threat to use force to annex the autonomous government of Taiwan.
But Sun offered few details about what changes to the party’s charter would be enacted at the meeting, which is expected to last about a week. The congress is the 20th in the history of the century-old party, which has some 96 million members, more than 2,000 of whom will attend meetings in Beijing.
The changes will “incorporate major theoretical views and strategic thinking” concluded in the five years since the last congress, said Sun, deputy head of the Chinese Communist Party’s Propaganda Department who is not well known outside party circles.
The amendment(s) “will meet new requirements to promote the party’s development and work in the face of new circumstances and new tasks,” Sun said.
Xi has left little room for further political aggrandizement, having put himself completely in charge of domestic affairs, foreign policy, the military, the economy and most other key issues overseen by party working groups he directs.
In his remarks, Sun said that China will make every effort to control Taiwan peacefully. But he said China would not tolerate what it called a move toward full independence backed by hardliners on the island and their overseas backers, presumably the United States, which is Taiwan’s main source of military and diplomatic support despite the lack of formal relationships in deference. to Beijing
Sun also offered no hope that China would roll back from “COVID zero,” which Xi and other leaders have made a political issue despite criticism from the World Health Organization and others that it is not a practical long-term solution. given improvements in vaccines and therapeutics
Many expect the policy to continue through at least March, when Xi is expected to take up his third term as president and other top cabinet leaders are expected to be installed.