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China’s ‘Two Sessions’ Begin Amid Economic Challenges And Political Shifts, Here’s What To Expect | World News

BEIJING:  China’s prestigious “Two Sessions” commences in Beijing on Monday where thousands of delegates from across the country will signal how they plan to steer the world’s second-largest economy in the year ahead and try to dispel deepening concern about the challenges it faces. Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his top Communist Party officials are expected to focus on projecting confidence during the “two sessions,” a highly choreographed event where China’s rubber-stamp legislature and top advisory body convene.

The largely ceremonial political gathering is taking on heightened importance this year as China’s economy has been roiled by a property sector crisis, hefty local government debt, deflation, a stock market rout and tech friction with the US — all fueling questions about whether the country will lose steam before it reaches its goal of becoming a developed global power.

Economic Focus And Premier’s Projections

Xi faces scrutiny amidst economic difficulties and rising scepticism. The past year saw him embark on an unprecedented third term, marked by economic struggles, job uncertainties, market losses, and small business challenges. Premier Li Qiang’s report will unveil a 5% economic growth target for 2024 and address pressing issues from declining birth rates to tech regulation.

Global Impact And Political Implications

China’s economic troubles reverberate globally, especially in a year where the U.S. presidential election may strain Sino-American relations further. Leaders aim to showcase the government’s ability to handle economic issues and provide confidence in China’s economic trajectory.

The “Two Sessions” serve as a platform for the government to announce strategies and key indicators, including economic growth targets and military spending. However, the space for open exchanges has diminished as Xi tightened control, raising questions about the direction of China’s economic and social policies.

Economic Debate Restrictions And Leadership Challenges

Recent controls on economic debates, including social media restrictions on analysts, highlight the government’s efforts to control narratives. Xi’s political shakeup and challenges faced by the new administration raise questions about the future direction of China and its impact on the global economy.

Crucial Topics And Global Relations

The sessions will shed light on China’s stance on Taiwan, relations with the U.S., and efforts to bolster innovation amidst tech export controls. Observers anticipate a possible shift in tone towards a more conciliatory stance, temporarily easing the confrontational ‘wolf warrior diplomacy.’

Leadership Appointments And Foreign Minister’s Role

The unexpected removal of officials, including the foreign minister and defence minister, adds an element of uncertainty. A new foreign minister’s appointment and potential high-ranking cabinet posts fillings will be closely monitored, as they signal shifts in China’s leadership and foreign policy.

NPC Dynamics: Ousting And Appointments

The NPC’s Standing Committee witnessed the removal of 11 members, including key figures linked to China’s military apparatus. The departures, particularly of Foreign Minister Qin Gang and Defense Minister Li Shangfu, prompt questions about military dynamics and leadership judgment.

Deciphering NPC And CPPCC Roles

Though technically independent from the CCP, both the NPC and CPPCC are significantly influenced by it. While the NPC is China’s primary legislative body, the CPPCC operates as a political advisory entity, fostering collaboration and extending CCP influence.

NPC’s Significance Beyond Formality

Despite being colloquially labelled a “rubber stamp,” the NPC holds importance beyond formality. Limited public input and occasional displays of dissent showcase its role in representing citizen interests on less sensitive issues.

Influence of Non-Party Actors And Global Market Skepticism

China’s political landscape accommodates diverse interest groups, including advocates for women’s rights and environmentalists. Their influence, however, remains constrained by the CCP’s dominance. Market skepticism prevails as observers await the impact of confidence projections and measures announced during the “Two Sessions.”

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