The 20th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party kicked off Sunday with Xi Jinping, the party’s chairman and China’s president, reading a lengthy report on the state of the CCP and the nation. The two-hour address, which is a feature of party congresses and resembles the recitation of a phone book, launched an assembly that will almost certainly culminate with Xi being reappointed as party chairman for a third term, breaking the precedent set by his two predecessors of stepping aside after having served two five-year terms.
Though the congress’s outcome is predictable, however, the priorities outlined in Xi’s speech are still valuable for observers and analysts looking for insights into what they might portend for the coming months and beyond. As such, the report reflected the CCP’s full consolidation of power, influence and control across all sectors of Chinese society, with Xi’s own concept of “national rejuvenation” a central pillar of the party’s policymaking vision. As Xi put it:
“Realizing our great dream demands a great project. This project is the great new project of Party building that is just getting into full swing. As history has shown and will continue to bear witness to, without the leadership of the Communist Party of China, national rejuvenation would be just wishful thinking.”