Op-Ed: In China, Xi Jinping is getting an unprecedented third term. What should the world expect?
In a little over four months, China will have its first prime ministerial candidate from the Communist Politburo Standing Committee, a position that until now had been reserved for party members since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
A total of five men have been confirmed to have officially joined the Central Committee of the party since the new system was adopted by the 12th National People’s Congress in March, in which two were approved at the three-day meeting and three more were approved by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
Only a few of the individuals were actually vetted for their suitability to join the Politburo Standing Committee; those with the requisite membership status have been identified as ‘party secretary or acting secretary’, although this term could also be used to refer to the position of director of the party’s Organization Department. A third of the nominees that have joined the Central Committee were officially given ‘acting secretary’ status, another third of the nominees were confirmed for ‘party secretary’ (or ‘party secretary-in-waiting’), and a fourth of the nominees confirmed for ‘deputy secretary’.
Of the five, Xi Jinping was the only one to have all his nominations approved before they had been put forward in public, although he was not formally approved as a party member until recently. In contrast, Liu Xiaozhou only garnered enough support in the Standing Committee to be officially added to the Standing Committee for the first time as deputy secretary, but, even after that, he still has to be confirmed as a party member before his nomination can become official.
In order to formally join the standing committee of the party, as well as make his first appearance in the position for nearly nine years, Xi Jinping has to go through a rather arduous process that includes submitting the nomination papers of any member of the party for approval on 14 August in person.
What makes his current position particularly unique is that all