China's Communist Party Congress opens to endorse Xi's rule

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Published: 10/16/2022 4:36:26 AM

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday hailed the Communist Party's rule and defended its Covid policies as he opened a five-yearly Congress at which thousands of delegates are set to endorse his bid to rule for a historic third term.

Xi walked onstage to thunderous applause from the roughly 2,300 delegates who had gathered at Beijing's Great Hall of the People for the event.


In his opening address the leader hailed the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and said the Congress was taking place at a "critical moment" for the country.


At the start of what is expected to be a lengthy speech, Xi also insisted China's Covid policies -- which are still placing heavy curbs on people's lives -- were for their safety.

He said the policies had "protected people's safety and health to the highest degree and achieved significant positive results".

Xi also focused on two of China's most sensitive security and sovereignty issues at the start of speech -- in relation to Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Xi lauded Hong Kong's transition from "chaos to governance", while vowing a "major struggle against separatism and interference" in the self-ruled island of Taiwan.

Should everything go to plan for Xi, the 69-year-old will be reconfirmed as the party's general secretary after the week-long meeting, cementing his position as China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.

If picked as party leader for another five-year term as expected, Xi is almost certain to be elected president at the annual meeting of China's National People's Congress in March.


- Tight security -

A heavy police presence was in place around Beijing early Sunday as authorities prepared for the week-long Congress.

A fleet of buses whisked journalists and other attendees to a virtually empty Tiananmen Square and into the Great Hall of the People.

Participants navigated a string of security checks before entering the hall, where a giant hammer-and-sickle emblem hung over the stage on which top leaders are due to be seated.

"Long live the great, glorious and correct Chinese Communist Party," blared one of the bright red banners adorning the hall.

The delegates' main task is to endorse Xi's unprecedented campaign to rule for three terms.

Xi and the party's other top brass are likely to be unveiled on October 23, the day after the Congress closes.

In the highly choreographed, mostly closed-door conclave, the delegates will also pick members of the party's roughly 200-member Central Committee, which in turn selects the 25-person Politburo and its all-powerful Standing Committee -- the country's highest leadership body.



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