China’s 19th Party Congress

China's President Xi's declaration that the country has entered into a new political era

Published over 1 year ago in Asia & Oceania and Politics

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China's 19th Party Congress held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing (Source: Brookings)


From October 18 to 24, 2017, China held its Nineteenth Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People located in the center of Beijing. 

The National Congress of the Communist Party of China, also known as the Party Congress of China, is one of the most important congressional conventions held by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China every five years. The participants of the convention include representatives of the Communist Party elected by citizens throughout the nation. 

What is Discussed at the Party Congress of China? 

The Party Congress of China yields strong influence over Chinese society as well as foreign nations, given the growing influence of China in the 21st century on the global economy and international diplomacy.
The following agenda points are discussed during the convention: 

  1. Reports on the work that the Central Committee has accomplished since the last Party Congress. 
  2. Discussion on the overall path of development that China will take in the next five years. 
  3. Amendments to the constitutions of the Party according to the current situation. 
  4. The election of members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China as well as the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection.

The Significance of the Nineteenth Party Congress of China 

After years of strategic development, China has reached a new stage in its quest to maintain a modern society governed by socialism. The societal concern has shifted from it's preoccupation with economically productive forces to unbalanced and partly inadequate social development. The Nineteenth Party Congress highlights the Party’s determination and capacity in leading the country to a socialistic and modernized superpower. It aims to highlight the Communist Party’s determination and capacity in developing the country into a socialist and modernized superpower. As the Chinese President Xi Jinping said during the Congress, the country has never been closer to the  “Chinese dream of the great renaissance”

Identifying China’s position at present and the direction it will be heading in the next several decades, is a major agenda point for the congress.  It was during the Congress that President Xi laid out a clear set of goals for China, socially and politically. One of these goals is to enhance the socialist modernization of the society by a substantial degree, starting in 2020 and accomplished by 2035. As a general goal, China plans develop into a highly prosperous, democratic, civilized nation by the year 2050. 

With regard to the serious political corruption and mistrust today in China, the Central Committee of the Communist Party decided to continue and further strengthen its anti-corruption campaign that was initiated during . the last Party Congress in 2012. Specific implementation methods include the continual usage of the “Skynet Monitoring System,” a surveillance network consisting of numerous cameras set up on the streets aiming to crack down street crimes and thus effectively eliminating hidden security risks.  

To alleviate poverty and combat the unequal distribution of wealth in today’s China, the Party’s Central Committee ambitiously pledged to reduce the number of regions with significant poverty levels to zero by the year of 2020.  The National Defense along with the military reform programs are expected to be carried out in the upcoming years and yield effective results in strengthening the country as a whole. The goal is to establish a modernized military power system with Chinese characteristics.    

How Has the Nineteenth Party Congress of China Improved from Past Ones?

The demographics of the 2280 delegates who participated the Nineteenth Party Congress of China, achieved notable progress in five major aspects:

  1. The percentage of the Congress representatives who are working at the front line, such as industrial workers, farmers, and technicians, has risen to an unprecedentedly high – about 33.7%. The representatives were more evenly distributed among all ages, compared to the last Party Congress in 2012, 169 more members are aged below 55. 
  2.  The average education level of the Congress representatives greatly increased: about 94.2% have a college degree or above.  
  3. The percentage of women representatives reached as high as 24.1%, about 1.1% higher than the Eighteenth Party Congress. 
  4. The percentage of ethnic minorities in China had an increase of 11.5% compared to the last Party Congress.
  5. A considerable number of outstanding role models, such as Jing Haipeng, the only Chinese astronaut who has completed a total of three space missions, were included among the representatives of the Nineteenth Party Congress. 

The composition of the representatives of the Nineteenth Party Congress of China demonstrates considerable diversification. The voices of people from different regions and who work in varied professions are becoming increasingly heard by the Communist Party leaders, who can have a better understanding of people’s need and adjust the law accordingly.

Post-Congress Expectations 

Foreign media such as CNBC now regard President Xi as “the most powerful Chinese official in decades”

In order to effectively implement the series of nationwide reforms that were outlined during the Nineteenth Party Congress, the Central Committee has made several changes to China’s Constitution,  all of which are aimed at strengthening the influence of Mao and Deng’s theories on domestic policy and leading the country further down the path towards achieving socialism with Chinese characteristics. The amendment of the Constitution is expected to bring about President Xi’s further consolidation of his political authority and untie his hands in introducing policies that can accelerate China’s growth and development. 

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