EXPLAINER: What to look for at China's annual Congress
BEIJING (AP) — China’s legislature begins its annual meeting this week with economic growth, climate and a crackdown on political opponents in Hong Kong expected to be on the agenda.
COMMUNIST PARTY FIRMLY IN CHARGE WHILE XI REIGNS SUPREME
The gathering of the National People’s Congress and its advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, brings handpicked delegates from across the country to discuss governing priorities and receive instructions from the ruling Communist Party leadership. Comprising roughly 3,000 members, the NPC is under complete party control and rubberstamps decisions made in advance but also offers the leadership feedback on pressing national concerns.
The party rejects any role for opposition parties or a separation of executive, judicial and legislative powers. Party leader and head of state Xi Jinping has eliminated limits on his term, potentially putting him in control for life. This year marks the centenary of the party's founding, and leaders will likely repeat a much-ballyhooed though difficult to qualify claim that no parts of the vast country of 1.4 billion people remain mired in extreme poverty.
ECONOMY TAKES CENTER STAGE
The state of the world's second-largest economy takes precedence among the myriad issues presented by Premier Li Keqiang in his address at the NPC's opening session on Friday. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, no target for economic growth was issued last year, but China has since shrugged off the impact and is expected to begin shifting its focus back to longer-term efforts to make the country a tech power less reliant on trade. This year will see the start of the 14th five-year plan, a vestige of the planned economy that speaks to the enduring role of state-owned businesses from banks to shipyards. After last year’s multidecade-low 2.3%...