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November 1, 2022 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1664

Outcomes Of The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) 20th National People's Congress: Xi Jinping Removes Predecessor Hu Jintao From Closing Session; High-Ranking Anti-Xi Officials Demoted, Replaced By Xi Loyalists; Constitution Amended To Stress Opposition To Taiwan Independence

November 1, 2022 | By Chris King*
China | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1664

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) 20th National People's Congress concluded on October 22, 2022. The following are the most significant outcomes of the congress.

New Politburo Standing Committee Members Elected

President Xi Jinping and the six other members of the CCP Central Committee Politburo's Standing Committee are the most powerful individuals in China. The previous Standing Committee members included some affiliates of Xi Jinping's opponents, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao (the latter of whom preceded Xi as General Secretary of the CCP).

All members of the anti-Xi camp on the Standing Committee – Li Keqiang (see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1658), Li Zhanshu (see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1656), Wang Yang (see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1660), and Hang Zheng – were voted out of their positions. They were replaced by Xi loyalists Li Qiang, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang, and Li Xi, respectively.

The remaining two Standing Committee members, Xi loyalists Wang Huning (see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1653) and Zhao Leji, were re-elected to additional terms on the Standing Committee.

Hence, the entire Standing Committee now consists of Xi loyalists.


Hu Jintao is removed from the closing session (Source: NBCnews.com, October 22, 2022)

It is noteworthy that Hu Chunhua, a prominent member of the informal anti-Xi Jinping Communist Youth League ("Tuanpai") faction who had been one of the biggest threats to Xi Jinping, was demoted from his position on the CCP Central Committee's Politburo.

Xi Jinping Kicks Predecessor And Opponent Hu Jintao Out Of Closing Session

Hu Jintao, a Xi opponent who was General Secretary of the CCP before being replaced by Xi Jinping in 2012, was abruptly escorted out of the closing session of the National People's Congress by two security guards, at the behest of Xi Jinping. Chinese state media claim that Hu left the session due to poor health, but in truth this appears to have been a show of force on the part of Xi Jinping, who has been successfully purging the CCP's highest ranks of his opponents.

It is noteworthy that early in Xi's tenure as the leader of the CCP, Hu had been one of his benefactors, and had even defended him from a 2012 coup attempt by former Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang.

The Communist Party Constitution Is Amended To Emphasize Opposition To Taiwan's Independence

Also at the congress, many amendments were made to the Party constitution, including the restoration of some language and content from the Mao Zedong era. For example, one change states that the CCP is the highest political leadership force in China and calls for adherence to the Party's leadership (namely, Xi Jinping). Another change calls for "carrying forward the spirit of struggle and strengthening the ability to fight."

One of the key changes to the Party Constitution, however, calls for "resolutely opposing and curbing 'Taiwan's independence.' This strongly indicates that the issue of Taiwan will be one of Xi Jinping's central focuses during his third term in office. Xi has previously made it clear that he is unwilling to compromise regarding Taiwan's independence and that the "historical wheel of national reunification and rejuvenation is rolling forward."

*Chris King is Senior Research Fellow for the MEMRI Chinese Media Studies Project. King was an active participant in the student protests in China in 1989.

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