lørdag 4. mars 2023

Xi Jinping is unveiling a new deputy - why it matters

The National People's Congress, which starts this weekend, will be the symbolic culmination of Xi Jinping's epic power grab. China's leader has overhauled the Communist Party placing himself at the core and nobody else has even a remote chance of challenging him. The starkest representation of this will be in the shift in personnel to be announced at the annual political meeting, a rubber-stamp session of nearly 3,000 delegates.

Take the role of the premier, the person managing the world's second-largest economy and, in theory, second only to Mr Xi in the power structure. Outgoing premier Li Keqiang will take centre stage on day one. Then, at the end, a new premier, almost certainly Li Qiang, will occupy the limelight. They're two very different people, especially in terms of their loyalty to Mr Xi, who started an upheaval a decade ago with his anti-corruption crackdown, cutting a swathe through the ranks of rival party factions.

At last October's Communist Party Congress, new appointments to the seven-man Politburo Standing Committee meant the most powerful group in the country now had only Xi loyalists.