On March 4, 2021, China’s main annual political meetings—known as the “Two Sessions”— started. Meetings of the National People’s Congress (NPC) (China’s rubber-stamp legislature) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) (its highest political advisory body) are always important, but this year’s gatherings are especially noteworthy.
Amid the multifront war and Covoronavirus pandemic, Xi has increased his support in the Politburo by 300%. Nearly 60% (15-members) of the 19th Politburo is Xi’s reliable lieutenant, up from around 20% (5 members) of the 18th Politburo. The 7-member Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) is the most influential body in China. And Politburo (with 25 members) is the second-most important decision-making body in China.
Xi has wrecked all the procedures and norms to induct his people into the Politburo. First, Xi transported two members from outside the Central Committee, which had not happened since 1992. Then, Xi promoted Four members – who were alternate members of the 18th Central Committee- to the 19th Politburo. Full membership of the previous Central Committee is a prerequisite for promotion to the Politburo. The six members who enjoyed fast-tracked promotions to the 19th Politburo are Xi’s near and dears.
China is likely to unveil full political controls on Hong Kong at this week’s meeting of its rubber-stamp parliament, which will showcase President Xi Jinping’s further consolidation of power. According to a top Chinese official’s speech ahead of the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC), Xi plans to ensure only “patriots” – Communist party loyalists – can rule Hong Kong. Hong Kong authorities have intensified the pro-democracy activists’ arrests and purges after the Beijing government passed a national security law at last year’s “Two Sessions” to squash dissent.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, birthrates in the country continue to plunge, with 10.04 million births recorded in 2020, a 15 per cent drop from the year before. As per the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Policymakers face a demographic emergency that could start population shrink by 2027, resulting in demographic disparities that would hinder economic growth. India could surpass China to become the world’s most populous country. According to the Lancet medical journal, China’s population of 1.4 billion is set to reduce to 732 million by 2100. A rapidly ageing population means a diminishing labour force. Unpopular measures like raising the retirement age must be challenged sooner rather than later.
Due to President Joe Biden’s pressure, human rights issues to remain contentious for the Chinese leadership. These human rights issues comprise the treatment of Uighurs and political tensions with Taiwan.
CCP did not announce an official GDP growth rate aim at the 2020 two sessions, and some analysts say it may be sparred again this year. Traditionally, the NPC’s first day is when Premier Li Keqiang declares China’s GDP growth aim for the coming year. However, CCP leaders prefer to drop the target if they’re not sure they can achieve it. According to official figures, senior CCP leaders have claimed big economic recovery —China’s economy expanded 2.3% last year. And a mega announcement of eradicating extreme poverty. But deep in their hearts, the Chinese policymakers are worried about the uncertainly embroiling with the top trading partners, as China being the world’s biggest exporter.
Last week Minister of Commerce spokesman told a press conference, “The condition of China’s foreign trade this year remains grim and complex”. He said, “From the demand side, apparently there are still fears about the coronavirus pandemic”. “In terms of the supply chain and industrial output, disrupting aspects keep evolving.”
The launch of a new Five-Year Plan, China’s fourteenth, will announce a long-term vision. The most important be Xi Jinping’s “2035 vision”—a majestic blueprint that will build impetus for his unprecedented third leadership term.
In November 2020, President Xi told top CCP leaders that it is “fully possible for China to become a high-income country by the end of the 14th five-year year plan and double the size of its economy or Gross Domestic Development per capita by 2035.”
Xi’s ambitious climate change announcement came at the U.N. General Assembly in the fall, when he declared that China will achieve peak carbon emissions by 2030 and pursue carbon neutrality by 2060. The upcoming NPC is likely to provide more details of how this will be accomplished. Thus, environmental protection will be a vital part of the 14th Five Year Plan.
To pacify the U.S. financial sector—one of CCP’s last remaining cronies in Washington—Two sessions may propose digital currency development and further reforms to attract foreign investment, especially considering the recent E.U. trade and investment deal.
The landmark (E.U. trade and investment deal ) pact could still be choked by European lawmakers anxious about enforced labour and data protection. These two matters may also spoil China’s hard work to sign the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)—the successor to the Obama-led TTP trade agreement that Trump sparred in his first days in office.
Trump’s export sanctions that impinged Huawei taught CCP a lesson in technological reliance. CCP could face continued pressure as President Biden consciously decided to take a hard stance against Chinese technology companies and motivate U.S. allies to help contest against China.
Xi Jinping and CCP leader have accepted the “complicated international situation” facing China, which has impinged how they have drafted the new Five-Year Plan, the predominant development blueprint to be announced at this year’s “Two Sessions.”
In Conclusion, CCP is hoping to re-synergies relations with the U.S. after four years of sudden deterioration under president Donald Trump. Allegations that CCP deliberately mishandled the pandemic outbreak – combined with misadventures such as Taiwan, the South China Sea and the long border stand-off with India – have further dented China’s global image.
China is likely to be predominantly vigilant about its political messaging as any more international repercussion could impend its domestic and economic plans. It’s a big year for Xi Jinping and the Communist Party. The CCP gears up to rejoice its centenary in July. Xi is desperate to gain an unprecedented third leadership term. Although, Within the CCP, plenty of people don’t want [a Xi third term] to happen.