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IN DEPTH: The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
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The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
Key Takeaways
By Harold Murphy

BT 201712 IN DEPTH 01      中国共产党第十九次全国代表大会(简称中共十九大)于2017年10月18日至24日在北京召开。出席本次全国代表大会的代表有习近平、李克强、张德江、俞正声等领导人。《中国共产党章程》规定,全国代表大会每五年举行一次,全国人民代表大会制度是我国基本制度。






BT 201712 IN DEPTH 02 walks through Tiananmen Square in Beijing over the weekendThe Communist Party of China held its 19th National Congress between 18th and 24th October 2017, in the Great Hall of the People, Beijing. Preparations for this year's conference began in 2016, and more than 2,200 delegates from all over China attended the Congress. The National Congress is a key meeting of the CPC which is held every five years, and this is the first time that the conference is chaired by Mr. Xi Jinping. The Communist Party of China has held congresses since 1921, but it was not until the 1980s that Deng Xiaoping introduced the quinquennial meetings.

The Congress aims to analyse the developments in Chinese and international environments, and reviews the Party's work over the past five years. It is crucial for individuals and companies who have ties or operate in the Chinese market to understand the key outcomes of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

BT 201712 In deth 03Party's Constitution and the Xi Jinping Thought

One of the most important developments of this year's conference is that President Xi Jinping has been able to consolidate his power in the Chinese goverment. The President's amendment of the Party's constitution was approved by the Party's Congress to include "Xi Jinping Thought of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era".

This phrase was first mentioned officially at the 19th National Congress, although it has gradually been developed for the past few years after Xi became General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. This is the third time that a Chinese leader has incorporated his name into the Party's constution, after Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. In his report, Xi stated that he will guide China into the “new era“, and affirmate the course to the “new normal“, which consists of a slower economic growth but of higher quality.

The Thought consists of 14 points, and includes among others: ensuring the leadership of the Communist Party of China over all forms of work, a people-centric approach for public interest, comprehensive deepening of reforms, governing China with the rule of law and “absolute leadership over“ China's People's Liberation Army.

BT 201712 IN DEPTH 04

Newly elected CPC leaders from left to right: Han Zheng, Wang Huning, Li Zhanshu, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Wang Yang, Zhao Leji


The National Congress elected the party's leading bodies, including the Politburo, the Politburo Standing Committee, and the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. A new Central Military Commission was also elected, athough scaled down. The Politburo Standing Committee is considered as being the most powerful decision-making body in China, with a mandatory retirement of its members at the age of 68 years. This year, five out of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committe retired: Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli. As expected, Xi Jinping renewed his term as General Secratary of the Communist Party, which is the Party's top position.

In addition, Xi selected an a group of six men to help him govern the country and assist in his ambitious economic reforms. In doing so, Xi abandoned the usual process of following party ranks.

Another important part of Xi's new policy is the institutionalization of the anti-corruption campaign and addressing the debt problem among companies and provincial governements. Xi also showed assertiveness to improve relations between the central and provincial governments with his policy.

BT 201712 IN DEPTH 06Pollution

Reduction of air and environmental pollution is also announced as a major and important goal by Mr. Jinping. China has already implemented a pollution crackdown since the beginning of the year, shutting down tens of thousands of factories that contributed to increased pollution. China has become very proactive in regulating environmental laws, and is expected to remain on this course in the years to come.

With the economic growth of China, pollution and environmental issues have become an increasing concern, with the death of hundreds of thousands of people that can be linked to ambient air pollution. According to Chinese Ministry of Health, industrial pollution has become the leading cause of death in China, and 500 million citizens are without access to safe and clean drinking water.

BT 201712 IN DEPTH 05Conclusion

Xi Jinping is now expected to have more power to push forward his economic reforms, which also include easier access of foreign companies to the Chinese market. However, the term “Chinese characteristics“ implies that the Party and the Government will still have a major role in China's business environment.

The National Congress calls on the entire Chinese people to closely support the Party’s economic reforms, and to study and put into practice the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.


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