A Good Day

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While Russian President Vladimir Putin suffers international condemnation and internal dissent, US President Joe Biden faces a test in the upcoming midterm elections, and major European leaders are either new or lack significant power globally, Chinese President Xi Jinping, 69, is firmly ensconced, and appears ready to receive an unprecedented third five-year term in office.

That’s because when members of the Chinese Communist Party meet for their 20th congress on Oct. 16, they are expected to lavish great praise on Xi as he lays out an ambitious agenda that befits a country that many China-watchers – like those at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – believe will play an increasingly influential and potentially dominant role in the world in the coming years.

Convening for around a week every five years, the congress’ 2,000 delegates will meet at a  “crucial moment” in China’s ascent to becoming a rich, developed nation under the Chinese Communist Party, the New York Times reported. At the congress, party honchos will appoint each other to important positions of power in a complicated, back-room process, that the South China Morning Post explained.

For his part, in his speech and meetings, Xi is expected to articulate an agenda for expanding economic development, international influence and military buildup – what he calls “national rejuvenation,” a program he has overseen since assuming power in 2013. “He will take China to an even more Sino-centric approach to policy, particularly foreign policy,” Steve Tsang, director at the SOAS China Institute at the University of London, told Reuters. “He will also reinforce the importance of the party leading everything in China, and the party following its leader fully.”

Of course, Xi faces enormous challenges. As German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle explained, China’s economic growth slowed to 2.5 percent in the first six months of the year, less than half of the Chinese government’s target growth rate of 5.5 percent. Youth unemployment is almost 20 percent. Coronavirus-related lockdowns were to blame for much of the drop. The state’s control over citizens lately with anger at officials bubbling over because of China’s strict virus-related restrictions, banking and mortgage scandals, and power outages. Meanwhile, tensions between the US and China are high over Chinese threats to Taiwan. And Xi faces international pressure related to his chummy diplomatic ties to Putin.

China has lots of cards to play in its international relations. Domestically, meanwhile, Xi has near-total control over the state and society, wrote Politico. While presiding over an economy that has created a new generation of wealthy elites, he’s moved to trim “excessive incomes” and reduce inequality while also silencing Chinese tech tycoons whose success might lead them to conclude erroneously that they can ignore the state – or exert power over it.

It will be a good day for Xi.

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