Hong Kong, September 1 (ANI): Chinese President Xi Jinping is pushing for his third term at the 20th Party Congress to be held on October 16 in Beijing despite mounting crises.
China's ruling Communist Party will hold its 20th National Congress, at which Xi is widely expected to extend his hold on power for another five years -- a move that would cement his status as the country's most powerful leader in decades, reported CNN.
Xi's insistence on a zero-Covid policy has seen cities across China imposing strict lockdowns to stamp out infections -- an attempt that appears increasingly futile in the face of the highly infectious Omicron variant.
Its often ruthless and chaotic enforcement -- as seen during a two-month lockdown in the financial hub of Shanghai -- has sparked waves of public outcry, with many growing increasingly frustrated with the unending restrictions on their daily life.
The zero-tolerance approach has also crippled economic growth -- long a source of legitimacy for the party. Youth unemployment has surged to a record high of 20 per cent, while a rural banking scandal and a spiralling property crisis have sparked large protests, reported CNN.
The congress will begin in Beijing on October 16 at a "critical time" for the country, the party's 25-member Politburo announced Tuesday, adding that preparations were "progressing smoothly."
That start date is in line with tradition -- in recent decades, the party has always held its congresses between September and November.
But this year's congress is anything but conventional. Xi, who has consolidated enormous power since taking office a decade ago, is widely expected to seek an unprecedented third term as China's top leader, breaking with the convention set by his predecessors since the early 1990s, reported CNN.
It's a plan year in the making since Xi removed the presidential term limits from the country's constitution in 2018. But for an authoritarian leader obsessed with stability, the months leading up to it haven't exactly been a smooth ride.
Moreover, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Wednesday published a long-awaited report that China's arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups in its western region of Xinjiang constitute "crimes against humanity" -- in a challenge to Beijing's repeated denial of any human rights violations there.
The political headwinds have fuelled intense speculation about Xi's authority in some quarters of the overseas China-watching community, with some questioning his prospects of securing a third term, reported CNN.
"I don't think there is any question that Xi Jinping's term will be extended," said Deng Yuwen, a former editor of a Communist Party newspaper who now lives in the United States in his YouTube commentary show.
"The confirmation of the start date of the 20th Party Congress shows the die is cast, and any opposition to Xi is powerless to change the situation," added Deng.
Holding the congress in mid-October also leaves some buffer time for Xi to attend major international events in November, such as the Group of 20 summit in Indonesia.
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"Xi hasn't left the country for nearly three years, and it has had a very negative impact on China's diplomacy," Deng said.
As for the Chinese public, many have paid little attention to the party congresses in the past -- they have no say in the country's political leadership transition or making major policies.
But this year, for those who are getting increasingly impatient and frustrated with the endless lockdowns and Covid testing, news of the congress' start date has come as a long-awaited relief, reported CNN. (ANI)Source: WORLD