At the CCP Congress, Xi Jinping gives himself thunderous applause

At the CCP Congress, Xi Jinping gives himself thunderous applause

Folk costumes and acquired audiences: The opening of the 20th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress on Sunday looked like a gathering for President Xi Jinping on his way to a third term that would make him China’s most powerful leader since Mao Tse. tung.

The imposing People’s Palace, which dominates Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, is home to some 2,300 delegates decked out in red and gold, the CCP’s signature colors.

Banners are unfurled in praise of the “great, glorious and just Chinese Communist Party.”

After a minute’s silence in honor of the party’s heroes, a military band sings the national anthem.

Under the colossal emblem of the hammer and sickle, the strongman of Beijing reflects on his accomplishments over the past five years and his vision for being restored to power in the world’s most populous nation.

Duration of the procedure: more than an hour and a half. Much more concise than his last speech in 2017, which lasted three and a half hours.

The participants diligently scribble notes. The bevy of monochromatic costumes is punctuated by a few pops of color from a military uniform or the traditional attire of one of the minority ethnic groups.

Other more unusual delegates include astronaut Wang Yaping, China’s first female spaceman, and Olympic speed skating champion Wu Dajing, wearing her national tracksuit.

– “hard core” –

In accordance with strict hygiene protocols, all delegates are masked except for the front row, which is made up of high profile personalities.

Among them was Hu Jintao, Xi’s predecessor, gray-haired and frail. But not Jiang Zemin, 96, who took over the reins of the country shortly after the 1989 crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests.

Also present is Zhang Gaoli, a former deputy prime minister accused by tennis star Peng Shuai of “forcing” her to have sex before resigning after heavy media coverage of the case abroad.

The congress is intended to be a demonstration of party unity and strength, with carefully selected delegates from every province in China.

It is also a mark of personal loyalty to Mr Xi, 69.

“As long as he (works) for people’s happiness and keeps improving our quality of life, we will all support him,” a delegate from Guangxi (south) He Xiangyin told AFP.

“He’s the hard core,” she insists, in line with official rhetoric.

Xi Jinping, who was to be given a third term as CCP general secretary, would thus undermine the succession plan that has been tacitly in place since the 1990s.

– “So happy” –

Taking control of Hong Kong, managing the COVID-19 epidemic, fighting corruption… Xi Jinping’s smugness draws thunderous applause.

His remarks on Taiwan received a standing ovation: “Reunification (of the island) with the motherland must and will be achieved”.

In his speech, Xi Jinping made no mention of Xinjiang, where Western countries accuse Beijing of gross human rights violations against Muslim minorities, particularly Uyghurs.

“In Xinjiang, we have such a happy life thanks to the big (communist) party that leads us,” Rehema Awuqi, a Uyghur woman representing her region at the congress, told AFP.

As the event drew closer, the Chinese capital took on the appearance of an impregnable fortress.

Police officers on duty and an army of volunteers line Beijing’s main intersections. Since Thursday, security has been tightened after the brief – and highly unusual – appearance of banners hostile to Xi Jinping.

Stretched across a bridge in the capital, these white banners with red characters call on citizens to go on strike and oust “traitorous dictator Xi Jinping.” No information was provided on the fate of the author(s).

Flower arrangements have appeared on Beijing’s sidewalks with slogans extolling the party’s virtues and calling for a “warm welcome to Congress.”

The conclave, largely held behind closed doors, adheres strictly to the “zero Covid” policy.

Journalists and all participants have been locked in a health bubble since Friday, with masks compulsory and daily PCR tests.


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