- SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST - Oct 13, 2020 -
Jun Mai -
China’s ruling Communist Party is expected to pass a binding regulation on how its policymaking bodies operate at a plenum later this month, a move that will further strengthen President Xi Jinping’s grip on power.
More than 300 Central Committee members will discuss and approve the regulation at the party’s annual political meeting to be held in Beijing in the last week of October. The committee is in charge of party affairs and passes major party decisions when it meets at least once a year.
A draft of the regulation published by state media on Monday gives more details of the scope Xi has as general secretary of the party than previous documents. It also covers how the party’s top decision-making bodies operate – the 25-member Politburo and the seven-member Politburo Standing Committee.
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Deng Yuwen, a former deputy editor of Study Times, a newspaper affiliated with the party’s top academy, said the regulation gives Xi more control.
“This regulation has more details of how the Central Committee should work than the Communist Party’s constitution,” Deng said. “It further elevates the status [of Xi] above other Politburo Standing Committee members as the general secretary is more like a convenor under the constitution.”
According to the draft, meetings of the three bodies – the Central Committee, Politburo and Politburo Standing Committee – can be called if more than half of their members are present.
And the general secretary has exclusive power to set the meeting agendas of the Politburo and its Standing Committee. Under the constitution, the general secretary only has the power to convene Politburo and Politburo Standing Committee meetings.
There is little publicly available information about how the party’s top organs operate or how they vote. Former general secretary Jiang Zemin once revealed that the Politburo Standing Committee made decisions based on majority votes and that he had one vote as its leader. As such, members have been kept at an odd number in the past decades.