Landmark gathering of China’s Communist Party elite set for November
- Hundreds of members of the Central Committee will meet in Beijing but an exact date has yet to be announced
- It will be the last major meeting before next year’s national congress – and an expected leadership reshuffle
The Politburo announced that the sixth – and final – plenary session of the 19th Central Committee will be held in November after their meeting on Tuesday, according to state broadcaster CCTV. An exact date was not given for the plenum, which is usually held in October.
More than 370 full and alternate members of the Central Committee will take part in the plenum.
Over the past three decades, the party has usually used the last plenary session to address party affairs, especially on key appointments, ideology and party-building matters.
“This plenum will carry lots of symbolic value for Xi in terms of his status in the party’s history as it looks back at the past 100 years, as the party presses ahead with the next centenary goal,” Xie said.
“Mao [Zedong] was the founder of new China and Deng [Xiaoping] made it affluent. Xi – who’s overseeing the party at its centenary – will be seen [at the plenum] as the leader who made the party and China strong. It’s important to send the right message to the Chinese people … from the historical perspective.”
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The plenum signals the start of the changing of the guard in Beijing, a process that will continue until the next party congress.
In 2016 at the last plenary session of the 18th Central Committee, the party declared General Secretary Xi the “core” of its leadership, elevating him to an even higher status within the organisation.
At the sixth plenum of the 11th Central Committee in 1981, the party laid down its official verdict on the Cultural Revolution, paving the way for the era of reform and opening up under Deng.
Observers will be watching to see if the party continues to follow precedent on its leadership changes, especially the informal retirement age of 68 for its top leadership set by Deng.
Nearly a dozen of the 25 members of the Politburo will be older than 68 in October next year.
Beijing has made changes to most regional and ministerial party chiefs and government heads in the last year to allow for the major personnel moves to come.