Communist Party of China National Congress Countdown

The other super-important November political event: That’s right, it’s that special time of year, or decade, rather. China’s communist government is set to shift power November 8th, and everybody is talking about it.

First off, we have the state-run Xinhua news agency, which is reporting that this power shift comes at a critical time for the world’s most populace country. According to Xinhua, what happens at the CPC will be a major indicator for how the country will tackle major challenges–including a recent economic slowdown that has the whole world on edge:

“Over the past decade, China has become the world’s fastest growing economy, with an average annual growth of 10.7 percent from 2003 to 2011, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. China took up about 10 percent of the world’s gross domestic product while contributing more than one-fifth of global growth last year.

Yet unprecedented challenges are still ahead for the CPC, even though its top leadership has defined the current transition period as a time that is full of strategic opportunities to build China into a prosperous society by 2020.

The CPC 18th National Congress comes at a time when the economy is facing mounting downward pressure after three decades of almost two-digit growth.

The era of ultra-high economic growth will soon be fading in China, where policymakers will have to get used to an economy that expands by about 8 percent annually, according to a study conducted by a research team from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank.”

Another major issue, possibly the biggest facing China, is political corruption. Xinhua made the argument after news broke that disgraced Politburo member Bo Xilai had been removed from the CPC in the wake of a murder scandal that saw his wife convicted for poisoning a British businessman. A list of the plethora of other charge, courtesy of China Daily News:

“Investigations found that Bo seriously violated Party discipline while heading the city of Dalian, Liaoning province, and the Ministry of Commerce, as well as serving as a member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau and party chief of Chongqing municipality.

Bo abused his power, made severe mistakes and bore major responsibility in the Wang Lijun incident and the intentional homicide case of Bogu Kailai.

He took advantage of his office to seek profits for others and received huge bribes personally and through his family.

His position was also abused by his wife Bogu Kailai to seek profits for others, and his family thereby accepted a huge amount of money and property from others.

Bo had or maintained improper sexual relationships with a number of women.

He was also found to have violated organizational and personnel discipline and made wrong decisions in personnel promotion, which led to serious consequences.

The investigation also found clues to his suspected involvement in other crimes.

Bo’s behaviors have brought serious consequences, badly undermined the reputation of the Party and the country, created a very negative impact at home and abroad and significantly damaged the cause of the Party and people.”

Bo’s expulsion will likely cause some friction amongst the new leaders of China, but as Business Insider reports, the party will, nonetheless, put on a united front.

As for how exactly power is expected to transition–read this intriguing article for info on the two major political classes: The princelings, high-born coastal politicians who’ve made an impact on economic growth (future leader Xi Jinping is a princeling), and the tuanpai, who have worked their way through the CPC’s youth organization, spent time in the poorer rural provinces, and can help with social stability.

Business Insider points to more reasons why this transition is so important:

“Another reason this handover has received so much attention is because of the number of new leaders expected to take power. The Politburo consists of a group of 25 leaders who lead the communist party. With Bo’s dismissal it is down to 24, and 14 of these members are expected to change.

The Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) – the most important decision making body in the country – is drawn from the Politburo, and seven of the nine PSC members will be stepping down.”

Sounds like hectic times in the Far East.

What do you think? How will China’s new political leadership shape the country’s future?

Read more on China, France, America and the world beyond in the latest edition of Carnet Atlantique.

It’s almost here! Our October 2012 issue goes live on Monday. Keep your eyes on this space for Letters From Provence, in-depth analysis of the American presidential elections, and more on China at home and abroad!

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