October 13, 2022
With only a couple of days to the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP congress) in Beijing, opening this coming Saturday, October 16, Western media outlets have not been short of speculations about the status of President Xi Jinping, the dynamics of power inside the Chinese political arena or the consequences for the Chinese economy and geopolitical circumstances. Needless to say, many speculations are overwhelmed with negative tones and projections.
Despite all media speculations, not so many people have a clear idea of what this congress is actually about, its structure and how it relates to the governance and political system in China, probably except for who is going to be the next in charge and speculations about the agenda.
This paper provides a brief introduction to the CCP Congress and its political structure in China. The essay concludes with recommendations on how to read the outcomes of the Congress for the benefit of a better understanding of China’s political roadmap today and towards the future.
There is a lot to learn from the CCP Congress about China’s present and future, domestically and its position and role in the world.
However, simple exercises to judge and consider outcomes and policies through the lenses of Western values, systems or norms will surely not be useful for more understanding and insights into where China is heading the coming years and decades. I say that with the “if” – if the West is really interested in learning more about where China is heading. Because, on the contrary, these mirror exercises will only provide more contrast and polarization and prevent further insights.
Here is how China Daily presents the Party Congress.