Xi tightens grip on power

By Malcolm Moore in Beijing

Xi has also taken the step of creating a team that will report directly to the top party leadership, rather than to the government.
Xi has also taken the step of creating a team that will report directly to the top party leadership, rather than to the government.

Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, has tightened his control over the Communist Party, emerging from a key four-day meeting with new powers to sidestep bureaucracy and force through change.

At the end of the Third Plenum, after roughly 400 party leaders met in secret to plan a blueprint for China's future, the creation of two organisations was announced that should boost Xi's power.

The official statement also promised to continue the path of liberalisation that the country has trod for the past two decades, including giving free markets a "decisive role in allocating resources", although the Communist Party will continue to shape the economic landscape. The statement also hinted at possible land reform, appearing to signal that farmers could win greater rights to their property.

The first new organisation, a Chinese equivalent of the United States' National Security Council, is likely to give Xi a tight grip on both the country's vast domestic security apparatus and its foreign security policy.

It is expected to reduce the powers of two existing party bodies.

"Someone is trying to consolidate his power," said Zhang Lifan, a historian, who cautiously did not openly name Xi. "The establishment of this National Security Council grabs power from the Central Committee and from the Politics and Law Commission."

Xi has also taken the step of creating a team that will report directly to the top party leadership, rather than to the government, in order to push policies past a bureaucracy that looks increasingly ossified and resistant to change.

"The team will be in charge of designing reform on an overall basis, arranging and co-ordinating reform, pushing forward reform as a whole and supervising the implementation of reform plans," reported Xinhua, the state news agency.

This could provide Xi with a vehicle to drive his vision of the future past the traditionally consensus-led bureaucracy.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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