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China’s Communist Party to hold key conclave of its top leaders ahead of US polls


Beijing: China’s ruling Communist Party will hold a key annual conclave of its top leaders later next month just days ahead of the US presidential polls, amid deepening political tensions between the world’s two largest economies and the Sino-India military standoff at eastern Ladakh.

The fifth plenary session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will be held from October 26 to 29 in Beijing, according to an announcement by the CPC’s Politburo meeting presided over by President Xi Jinping on Monday.

The Politburo discussed topics including a document on China’s 14th Five-Year Plan (FYP) and a longer-term vision for 2035, state-run CGTN-TV reported.

The document, after being revised based on opinions raised at Monday’s meeting, will be submitted for deliberation at the fifth plenary session, the channel said.

A set of regulations on the work of the CPC Central Committee was also reviewed at the meeting, state-run Xinhua news agency reported, without giving details.

The party’s closed-door plenum consisting of about 204 full central committee members and 172 alternate members is held annually to review the policies of the party and the government.

Xi, 67, who has emerged as the most powerful leader of the party after its founder Mao Zedong holding the posts of party’s General Secretary, head of the country’s military besides the Presidency with prospects of life long tenure in power, will deliver a report on the party’s work since the previous meeting in October last year.

Observers say the significance of the top decision making bodies of the CPC since the advent of Xi to power in 2012 and currently in his second five-year term has declined as he firmly established his stamp of authority doing away with the past system of collective leadership.

All CPC meetings, including the plenum, are held in tight secrecy and the proceedings of such meetings other than the official handouts were rarely publicised.

The plenum meeting was delayed in October last year due to agitation against the Chinese government’s interference in Hong Kong, posing a major challenge to Xi’s leadership and his handling of the crisis in the former British colony.

However, the CPC and the Chinese government pressed ahead by passing hugely controversial National Security Law this year amid massive opposition from people of Hong Kong and the international community, virtually taking over the security of the Special Administration Region for the first time since it was transferred to China by Britain in 1997.

The move had accentuated the international adversity faced by China following the outbreak of the COVID-19 which after emerging in Wuhan in December last year has become the worst pandemic the world has seen in recent years with death toll crossing over a million.

While the new security law worsened China-US ties, with President Donald Trump declaring a whole range of new political and economic measures downgrading the ties between the top two economies, it evoked strong reactions also from the UK and European countries.

This year’s plenum is being held in the backdrop of major trade and economic crisis gripping China and the world as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to create havoc around the world, while China has stabilised the virus situation at home.

It is also being held days before the US Presidential polls scheduled to take place on November 3. While China’s ties with the US deteriorated to historically low, a return of Trump was widely expected to result in far more stringent anti-China policy compared to his rival Joe Biden.

The plenum is also being held amid the India-China military standoff at the eastern Ladakh with two militaries massing large number of troops.

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