Key Points of Communist Party of China 19th National Congress Report
The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held from October 18th to 24th. Given the significance of this meeting and the interest of our members, the Columbus Chinese Chamber is providing a snapshot of the Party meeting and what this may mean to the political and economic climate in China.
National Congress of the Communist Party of China is an important meeting that occurs every five years. This is where Party leaders indicate the development direction of the Party and ultimately the country. In addition to making leadership changes, the Congress also reviews and changes, if necessary, the Party's Constitution. It also selects members to serve on the Central Committee, a powerful decision making body. Each five-year cycle of the National People's Congress has a series of sessions of the Central Committee.
President Xi Jinping’s leadership was solidified at this National Congress meeting. President Xi’s status elevated as the Party incorporated his self-titled doctrine "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era" into its constitution. There have only been a few leaders in China to have their names enshrined in the constitution. This list includes Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.
The Party also chose not to name a successor to President Xi Jinping, which only strengthened his status. Although the Chinese constitution limits him to two consecutive terms as president (second five-year terms ends in 2022), Xi could seek another high-level role in the Party and serve in some other way.
President Xi laid out a number of initiatives to improve China's prosperity and his vision to make China a global power with a first-class military by 2050. Xi outlined some broad goals which included: achieving a thriving middle class by 2020, the ongoing goal for continued improvements to the quality of life for the average Chinese citizen and the promotion of a cleaner environment. Xi discussed that the modernization that China wants to build must include the harmonious coexistence of man and nature. Further it is necessary to create more material wealth and spiritual wealth to meet the growing needs of the people in China and to provide more quality ecological products to meet the growing environmental needs.
China's economy has shifted from high-speed growth to high-quality development. President Xi suggested a gradual shift away from growth at any cost to a more balanced growth. The Party agreed that socialism in China is entering into a new era. Many have interpreted this as the Party’s acceptance of lower future economic growth in order to maintain better social harmony. There were statements made that the Party must unite and lead the people, of all ethnic groups, in the country to build a well-off society in an all-round way, and strive to win the great victory of socialism.
President Xi's vision also affirms China's outward expansion goals, including investments in projects such as the Belt and Road initiative that focus on expanding trade routes which will expand Chinese influence, throughout Asia, Africa and westward into Europe. In addition, the longer-term focus on strengthening national security implies more defense spending aimed at building its air and naval capabilities in order to deter territorial challenges from neighboring nations.
From the summary above, we can generate a sense of where the Chinese economy will head in the next couple decades. New era, ecology, innovation are pinpointed several times, and hint at where multinational businesses may want to focus.