Briefly: China’s annual ‘two sessions’ kicked off in Beijing over the weekend. It’s a rubber-stamping exercise, but still offers insights into China’s trajectory and President Xi’s priorities.
The National People’s Congress (NPC) is the country’s equivalent of a parliament, but its members are appointed (not elected) and it formalises decisions that’ve already been made.
Meanwhile, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) is more of an advisory body. It has no real power, but observers watch it for clues of emerging issues in China.
Some of the ‘two sessions’ outcomes are already clear: China has set a 5% GDP growth target for 2023, and Xi Jinping’s unprecedented third term will be ratified. The real tea this year involves key personnel appointments, which will further entrench Xi’s allies in top posts and cement the Communist Party’s control over the private sector.
Intrigue’s take: Watching the ‘two sessions’ is like watching the Harlem Globetrotters play the Washington Generals: the result is never in doubt, but they sure put on a hell of a show (if you’re a China nerd).
Xi Jinping’s almost total control of Chinese politics will steal the headlines, but it could be a double-edged sword: much harder to blame party officials for mistakes when you’re the one who handpicked them. Still, Xi seems to be enjoying the perks of power… like getting one more cup of tea than everyone else.
Also worth noting:
- According to The NPC Observer, the NPC has never voted down an agenda item.
- NPC delegates this year include celebrities, business executives, and one of China’s first female fighter pilots.