Xi Jinping’s Monopoly on Power Ends CCP’s Power-Sharing Consensus: China Experts

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News Analysis

After China’s 20th Party Congress, Xi Jinping and his loyalists have taken full control of the top power structure of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Analysts point out that the current structure breaks the CCP’s power-sharing rules, which may bring about a struggle amongst the party’s inner-circle, just like those in Mao Zedong’s time.

A review of the core leadership positions reveals that nearly 70 percent of the members of the current CCP Central Committee are new faces, a high turnover rate not seen in more than 30 years. More specifically, the previous CCP Central Committee consisted of 204 members, of which only 69 were retained.

The current Central Committee is composed of 205 members, with the Standing Committee of the Politburo as the highest decision-making body.

According to the organizational structure of the CCP, only officials who are members of the Central Committee are eligible to become top leaders of the CCP, or to take up official positions at the provincial or ministerial level, as well as to become top or senior officials in China’s police and military systems.

After the closing of the Party congress, Xi’s allies filled the top of the power pyramid—the CCP Central Committee—meaning that Xi Jinping no longer has any political rivals capable of challenging him, at least for the next five years.

U.S.-based China expert and commentator Zhang Tianliang told The Epoch Times that, in effect, Xi Jinping has broken the power distribution mechanism that has been in place within the CCP since the Deng Xiaoping era three decades ago. CCP officials from different factions used to share power to form a relatively balanced political body, and also to show some respect for one another.

Zhang believes that this time, Xi will launch a major purge within the party during his third-term to eliminate dissidents.

Since Deng Xiaoping’s time, there have been two major political factions in the Party: the Jiang faction, led by former Party leader Jiang Zemin, and the Youth League faction, led by former Party leader Hu Jintao, both of which were personally promoted by Deng into power. In November 2012, Xi ascended to the post of the CCP’s General Secretary amidst a struggle between those two political factions. But at that time, he did not have his own cronies.

This year is the CCP’s five-year cycle of power redistribution, but both the Jiang faction and the Youth League faction have been hit hard by Xi Jinping’s faction, with neither faction’s key members making it to the CCP’s new leadership core and few making it to the Central Committee.

Moreover, Hu Jintao, the head of the Youth League faction, was escorted out of the 20th National Congress against his will in front of Chinese and foreign journalists sent shockwaves through the world.

This unusual scene seems to be a prelude for what is to come.

Closing Ceremony Of The 20th National Congress Of The Communist Party Of China
Chinese leader Xi Jinping looks on as former leader Hu Jintao (R) gestures as he is helped to leave early from the closing session of the 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress at The Great Hall of People in Beijing, on Oct. 22, 2022. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

China expert Shi Shan said in an Oct. 22 NTDTV interview that there are still multiple political factions within Xi Jinping’s loyalists, and that officials originally from Fujian Province are the big winners. These different factions will fight amongst themselves as they compete for Xi’s favor.

“The struggle within the Xi faction will resemble the struggle within Mao’s cronies during the Cultural Revolution. Among Mao’s cronies, some even died more tragically than Mao’s political opponents,” Shi said.

Ever since the CCP seized power in 1949, it was embroiled in factional and line struggles for a long time, with the Maoist faction almost always occupying the ruling position and Mao becoming a Stalinist dictator. By the time of Mao’s death in 1976, the regime was on the verge of collapse due to internal struggles and economic factors.

After the Cultural Revolution finally came to an end, political strongman Deng Xiaoping ushered in an era of political oligarchy, with the Central Advisory Committee of the CCP being the de facto top policy-making body of party at the time. He also relaxed control over economic activities, in order to give the CCP a chance to survive.

Hu Jintao, the former CCP leader, was the successor of Deng Xiaoping’s governing philosophy and was appointed by Deng to succeed Jiang as party leader. Deng did not trust that Jiang would step down as party leader himself.

“Xi Jinping’s monopoly on power and Hu Jintao’s forced removal from the meeting signals the end of the Deng Xiaoping era,” Zhang said.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Justin Zhang


Justin Zhang has been analyzing and writing articles on China issues since 2012. He can be contacted at justinzhang1996@gmail.com

Olivia Li


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