China’s ruling Communist Party is expected to give Xi Jinping a third five-year term, making him the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong in the 1970s. The decision, which comes after a two-term limit was lifted in 2018, will strengthen his hold over China even further and enable him to stay in power for the remainder of his life.
Xi Jinping is known as the Paramount or Supreme Leader and presently occupies three positions of power.
He is also the leader of China’s Communist Party as General Secretary, China’s head of state as president, and oversees the Chinese Central Military Commission as Chairman and the country’s armed forces.
Why this matter.
Mr. Xi will be in charge of the world’s second-largest economy as well as one of its most powerful military forces. Xi Jinping’s ideology does not favour private enterprise or capitalism, so this might further contract the economy and exacerbate trade tensions with the United States.
A third five-year term will push China toward a more authoritarian political position, and tighten state control over the economy.
China’s economy has expanded rapidly in recent decades but the economic growth is lower than that of previous presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.
However, it is currently facing considerable economic disruption as a result of Covid lockdowns, rising prices, and a major property problem.
A look at the West and Taiwan
Mr. Xi has a tough stance toward the West, particularly with regard to Taiwan.
The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives’ visit to Taiwan in August spurred China to begin military drills, including live missile launching, around the island.
China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will eventually be under Beijing’s control and Mr. Xi has stated that “reunification” with Taiwan “must be completed” by 2049, the centennial of the People’s Republic, and has not ruled out the use of force to accomplish this.
Taiwan regards itself as unique from the rest of the country.
A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would devastate US’s considerable influence in the western Pacific Ocean and beyond. Taiwan is vitally important to the West because it is part of a number of territories that have been allied with the US for decades.