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What to Expect at China's National People's Congress as Xi Tightens His Grip

What to Expect at China's National People's Congress as Xi Tightens His Grip

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What to Expect at Chinas National Peoples Congress as Xi Tightens

At the upcoming Communist Party Congress in Beijing, you can expect to witness some profound shifts. These include Xi Jinping's third term as president, retirements and new leadership positions.

Xi is expected to consolidate his power at the helm of China's military and state. His strategy involves tightening control over security apparatus, steering economic growth and mitigating financial risks.

1. Xi Jinping’s Third Term

China's ruling Communist Party will convene its 20th Congress beginning October 16, with President Xi Jinping expected to secure a third term as head of government. Despite growing criticism over China's policies, Xi is set to retain considerable power.

In his third term as president, Xi is expected to continue consolidating his power while facing numerous challenges. These include tensions with Washington, limitations on access to Western technology and an aging population.

At the upcoming national party congress, China's Communist Party will reshuffle the Politburo Standing Committee - its executive body which makes policy decisions. Xi will lead a group of seven leaders that includes loyalists and others with close connections to him.

These new members are expected to further cement Xi's grip on power. It remains uncertain, however, how these adjustments will impact China's long-term goals.

Under President Xi's guidance over the past 10 years, China has drastically altered its policy and status from a developing nation to one of the world's largest economies. Notable accomplishments include ending extreme poverty, combatting climate change, curbing corruption and growing the economy.

Human Rights Watch today issued a call for the global community to urge Beijing, as President-elect Xi prepares for his fifth five-year term, to uphold human rights during his reign. They emphasized the need for governments around the world to respect freedom of expression, independent media outlets and other fundamental freedoms.

In China's first two terms under Xi, cultural persecution and arbitrary detentions of one million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims have become daily events. Hong Kong also recently passed a stringent national security law with severely limited freedoms that amount to crimes against humanity; these abuses undermine China's capacity to govern effectively and protect its citizens.

2. Term Limits

Chinese politics has long practiced term limits, which prevent any single leader from amassing undue power. Since the 1980s, China's Communist Party has implemented a system of collective leadership where leaders are replaced every five years at congresses - this practice intended to prevent individuals from acquiring autocratic powers like Mao Zedong did.

In 2018, President Xi Jinping revolutionized China's leadership structure by abolishing the two-term presidential limit. This was the most significant shift since Deng Xiaoping established a system that permitted peaceful transitions from one leader to another.

It has now been determined that Xi has become the most powerful leader in China's history, having secured a number of leadership posts and eliminating other sources of power through massive anti-corruption drives.

However, the question still looms as to how Xi will utilize his newly found power. Will he continue with the oppressive policies that have defined his tenure or will he attempt to alter some of them?

Most likely, Xi will continue to exercise his control over society and policy. This will be a convenient means for him to realize his ideological vision of refashioning China while solidifying his personal hold on both party and state.

Throughout his tenure in office, Xi has advocated for a greater role for nationalist causes and an increasingly assertive posture on Taiwan. Additionally, he has supported an increasingly belligerent military posture and foreign policy approach which are likely to intensify with another term in office. Furthermore, he has sought out Russia as a partner in his quest to undermine the US-led world order.

3. Leadership Changes

The National People's Congress was marked by Xi Jinping's surprising decision to defy long-held party convention and remain as general secretary. Traditionally, this position has been the most powerful leader of China and typically passes on his duties after serving two five-year terms; however, Xi broke that tradition during his first term and is expected to continue in the post for his third.

Furthermore, the leadership changes at the Party Congress will likely showcase how much influence Xi has over China's elite political and military leaders. The new slate of party officials is likely to be composed mainly of Xi loyalists who will likely back his hardline agenda of centralized control and market-oriented policies.

Another crucial issue will be the composition of China's influential Politburo Standing Committee, which serves as its top decision-making body. With 25 members, this body boasts some of the country's most influential political figures and their appointments will have a major bearing on Chinese policymaking.

But while Xi may have secured new appointments that further consolidate his power over the party and country, it remains uncertain what his long-term objectives are. Will he continue pushing for more personalistic leadership that prioritizes loyalty over technocratic competence or attempt to reinstate collective governance systems that had been in place since Communist Party founding?

In the end, it will be Xi's legacy which determines what happens next. His success at the congress will show how far he can take his authority and how much resistance from political opposition he receives.

4. Foreign Policy

Xi is still China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, yet he faces numerous obstacles that could diminish his influence. These include fierce economic difficulties, a tariff war with the United States, an impending debt crisis and increasingly assertive foreign policy initiatives.

At the Party Congress, Xi is expected to present his vision for China's future, setting trade, technology and economic goals for the next five years. Additionally, they plan on naming a new Standing Committee - an inner circle of party leaders responsible for overseeing China's economy - during this event.

This new group is expected to be led by an experienced politician who's already part of the Communist Party's inner circle. Other potential candidates include Wang Yang, Hu Chunhua and Han Zheng; all reported to be close to Xi.

Political analysts anticipate Xi to select a new premier. He Lifeng, currently serving as vice premier for economic policy, is seen as an likely contender. As a close ally of Xi, He Lifeng is believed to have an understanding of managing China's financial risks such as non-performing loans and capital risk.

In addition to his leadership transitions, Xi is likely to issue a statement regarding Taiwan. This could give us insight into his commitment to peaceful reunification or his willingness to go beyond that in response to pressure from nationalist movements.

Chinese foreign policy under Xi has been an intriguing blend of fiery rhetoric and measured pragmatism. He's pursuing a global strategy that is largely defined by his desire to differentiate and delegitimize Western attitudes and policies while reinforcing Chinese nationalism in pursuit of China's core interests.

5. China’s Economy

On Sunday, China's National People's Congress opens its doors, and Xi is expected to consolidate his power while also confronting numerous challenges. These include slow consumption, rising unemployment rates, a slump in the housing market, lack of business confidence, local governments' debt problems, an aging population and growing tension with the U.S. over technology sanctions.

Investors are eager to know if policy uncertainty will ease in the near future. The party congress will set an economic growth target for this year that should be significantly better than last year's 3.0%, one of the worst performances in decades.

Premier Li Keqiang, an advocate of free enterprise, is expected to set a growth target between 5% and 5.5%. But that would be far from the pace of expansion China experienced before the pandemic.

One key challenge facing China is its weakening financial system. State-owned banks, once the engine of economic growth in China, have become increasingly dependent on bribes to secure loans and have faced severe penalties from the government in recent years for not repaying them.

Non-bank financial institutions, such as trust and investment companies, have played an important role in filling the void. Generally speaking, these establishments have better access to local information than state-owned commercial banks do.

This has led to an unprecedented surge in private-sector investment in China's economy. This boom has provided entrepreneurs with new avenues for creating more private-sector jobs than ever before.

But the rise of China's private sector has also resulted in growing income inequality. Those who own and control these enterprises earn much more than their counterparts in state-owned or township enterprises, and can afford to indulge in luxury items and travel more freely. Unfortunately, this puts pressure on China's social stability.

Biden Awards Medal of Honor to Black Vietnam Veteran

President Biden Awards Medal of Honor to Black Vietnam Veteran Paris Davis

On Friday, President Joe Biden awarded the Medal of Honor to Paris Davis - a Black special forces hero who saved his men from an enemy raid in Vietnam. At 83 years old, Davis received his award during a White House ceremony attended by Biden and other dignitaries.

He was a captain at the time and displayed incredible bravery and intrepidity above and beyond his call of duty. He engaged in hand-to-hand combat with North Vietnamese, called for precision artillery fire, and prevented three American soldiers from being captured - all while receiving wounds from gunshots and grenade fragments.

President Biden

On Friday, President Biden presented the Medal of Honor to Black Vietnam Veteran Paris Davis for his heroic rescue of three other soldiers during a day-long firefight. In recognition of Davis, who the White House described as a "born warrior," President Biden paid tribute to him and described him as an inspiration.

He also recognized Davis' dedication to civil rights issues during his post-military civilian life as founder of the Metro Herald newspaper in Virginia, which reported on community news and civil rights matters.

In his speech, President Biden expressed his deep respect for those who served in the Vietnam War and America's legacy of peace and reconciliation. He and Paris Davis share a mutual admiration for these brave souls.

"We owe a tremendous debt to him and to every American who served in that war. Your sacrifices have changed the course of history, and your memories will never be forgotten," Biden declared.

The Medal of Honor is America's highest military award and it celebrates the valor that makes our nation great. It unites all Americans regardless of race or background.

Earning the Medal of Honor is no small feat. In fact, it took half a century for Davis' case to be approved and resubmitted by the Army; there were two lost recommendations, an extensive grass-roots campaign, and multiple false starts along the way that finally led to recognition.

At 26 years old, Davis led an Army Special Forces team that "smashed through" a much larger enemy force during combat operations in Vietnam over two days in 1965. Even though he suffered multiple wounds to his arms and legs, Davis never gave up; he helped carry his teammates to safety, absorbed shrapnel damage and even refused an evacuation helicopter when offered one.

After his return from the Vietnam War, he joined the Green Berets and became one of the country's first Black Special Forces officers. At that time, segregation still existed in America, making serving as a Black man in the Army difficult, according to his memoir.

Ron Deis

On Monday, President Joe Biden awarded the Medal of Honor to Black Vietnam Veteran Paris Davis 58 years after he risked his life to save his men in a fierce battle against North Vietnamese forces. During that engagement, Davis continued his heroic work even after being wounded himself.

On June 18-19, 1965, in Bong Son, Vietnam, Deis a spotter aboard an L-19 Bird Dog propeller plane circling overhead noticed four enemy soldiers near a North Vietnamese command building. After seizing control of these men, their team went on to engage the enemy and ultimately prevail in combat.

When Davis' commanding officer ordered him to withdraw from the attack, he refused. He continued directing artillery and airstrikes into enemy territory to prevent them from destroying his soldiers. Furthermore, he helped rescue one of his own, Spc. Robert Brown who had been pinned down during the initial assault; he dragged Brown 150 yards back towards friendly territory despite being wounded by grenade fragments.

On that same day, another senior officer questioned Davis about his actions. Davis replied that he was doing all he could to protect his men and would remain committed if it meant keeping them out of danger. If it proved impossible for him to save everyone, he would not back away from his commitments.

Over the years, Davis' fellow soldiers and supporters worked to honor him for his heroism. But according to Ron Deis - a member of the Special Forces team in Bong Son that day - Davis was always overlooked.

He recalled hearing someone on the battlefield discussing awarding Davis with a Medal of Honor for his valor during battle, and it "resonated" with him. A sergeant with decades of combat experience had told him that Davis should receive this recognition for his heroism.

Only recently did the Pentagon re-approve Davis' nomination, after a group of volunteers began advocating for him. The advocacy group created another recommendation packet and filed it in 2016. After nine long years, Davis finally received his Medal of Honor on February 13th this year.

Paris Davis

On Friday, President Biden awarded the Medal of Honor to one of America's most distinguished Black Vietnam veterans: Paris Davis. A graduate of Southern University and A&M College, Davis was one of the first Black officers in the elite Green Berets.

On June 17, 1965, Captain Davis led a South Vietnamese 883rd Regional Force Company on its first mission of the war: an daring nighttime raid against an enemy stronghold. Though initially ambushed, he rallied his soldiers to fight back and sustain himself through numerous exposures to enemy small arms fire as they successfully repelled several attacks, ultimately leading to the deaths of several enemy soldiers.

Captain Davis refused medical evacuation for himself and directed helicopter extraction of his wounded troops while refusing to leave the battlefield until all friendly forces had been recovered or evacuated. He then directed tactical air and artillery fire in order to eliminate enemy forces, saving two American Soldiers' lives in the process.

At this critical juncture, the battle was shifting and the Company was losing ground. Captain Davis broke cover and crawled to help save one Soldier who needed saving from enemy grenade fragments. Though shot twice, he managed to save his comrade's life and return him safely back to their perimeter.

After the second Soldier was wounded, Captain Davis again broke cover and crawled back to his position. Despite being hit by grenade fragments, he saved his comrade and directed helicopter extraction of those injured. Following that, Captain Davis used tactical air and artillery fire to eliminate all elements of the enemy force.

Captain Davis' actions were described by the White House as "remarkable gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty." He was awarded the Bronze Star, Silver Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal and is a member of the Army Ranger Hall of Fame.

Davis had to endure segregation as a child in the United States before volunteering to serve his nation. He "fought to break down racial barriers within both the military and civilian society," according to President Obama who described Davis' bravery as an inspiration to people around the world who seek answers or hope in the face of adversity.

Biden’s speech

On Friday, President Biden awarded the Medal of Honor to a Black Vietnam Veteran for his heroism and grit. He recounted the story of Davis' rescue of an American, an army medic, from death by enemy fire.

At a stirring ceremony in the White House, veterans from every generation gathered for the award ceremony - including several who were there when Davis earned his Medal of Honor 58 years ago. President Clinton declared that this award would serve as a reminder of America's dedication to upholding its people and fighting for justice, equality and freedom.

"Heroes like Paris Davis are the reason we can proudly say that our world today is better than it was before the war," Biden said, commending his bravery and compassion.

Biden, a former senator from his home state of Indiana, challenged his audience to make America an inclusive place where everyone has the chance to succeed and be proud of what they do for a living. He also highlighted the many successes his administration has accomplished, from combatting shortages in domestic supply chains to investing heavily in manufacturing and infrastructure.

He also called on Congress to protect American workers from unfair treatment. This speech provided Vice President Biden the chance to address a broad range of policy ideas he anticipates will be important issues in this year's congressional elections.

In a speech that focused more on his aspirations than accomplishments, Biden declared it was time to "finish the job." He called for stronger gun control laws, expanded worker protections and enhanced public education. Furthermore, he demanded action on police reform as well as the return of the expanded child tax credit which expired in 2021.

The speech was often tedious, but it did contain moments that will resonate with Americans. One such instance was a plea to assist victims of the opioid crisis which claimed more than 70,000 lives last year and continues to spread across America. Furthermore, Vice President Biden called on Congress to pass new anti-fentanyl laws which will help stop this drug from being manufactured, sold or smuggled into America.

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