- Washington did not wait for the start of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China, scheduled for October 16, to learn about the official results of the important event that China witnesses every five years.
Many American reports about the results of the pivotal conference in the history of China have begun to appear, while Washington and Beijing relations are witnessing tensions that are unprecedented in their nature and degree of danger.
In a symposium organized by the Brookings Institution - in which Thomas Friedman, the famous writer of the New York Times, interviewed Professor Cheng Li, director of the Institute's Chinese Studies Program, and attended by Al Jazeera Net, it was concluded that Chinese President Xi Jinping will emerge stronger after this conference as it continues. With him the hard-line policies toward Taiwan and the United States.
Since Xi's ascension to leadership in 2013, the constitution has been amended to remove restrictions on his term to allow it to be extended for more than two five-year terms, and he is now preparing to give him a third term.
US President Joe Biden in a virtual meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping (Reuters)
The secret of President Xi's popularity
Unusually, the past weeks and months did not witness any leaks from circles close to the Chinese party before its general congress.
The names of those who would remain in office and those who would leave were always circulated, with new names nominated.
Professor Cheng said it was because not many people knew what President Xi had in mind.
It is clear that there is no serious challenge to Xi's dominance in the Chinese establishment and the ruling party.
The professor points out that there is intellectual, societal and academic opposition to some of Xi's ideas, but this has not been transmitted to the political elite.
He attributed this to several reasons, including that during his first term in office, Xi relied on political allies.
In the second, on his immediate entourage, whom he appointed during his first reign, from here he is absent from any political challenge within the ruling elite.
For most Chinese, Xi has succeeded in eradicating poverty.
The World Bank reports that 800 million Chinese became poor during the previous decades.
Although former President Deng Xiaoping initiated the anti-poverty initiative, Xi completed it successfully in the past 10 years after allocating huge resources to it.
Xi has also succeeded in combating pollution in a large way, and after there were 6 Chinese cities among the 10 most polluted cities in the world, the number has been reduced to only 3 cities, with continued efforts to reduce pollution rates.
The Chinese youth credit the president with his strong fight against corruption, which Professor Cheng saw as saving the Communist Party from collapse.
This prompted graduates of the most important Chinese universities to join the party after traveling to the West was their greatest ambition.
Regarding the Chinese army, the professor considered that Xi led a major reform process in the army that led to the abandonment of the Russian doctrine in combat and the adoption of the American one, in reference to ending reliance on ground forces as the backbone of the army, and following the joint command in which the air and technological forces play a leading role.
In addition, Xi has appointed thousands of junior officers to replace the older ones, and he owes them the opportunity to give them this opportunity.
American ignorance of Chinese dynamics
The professor refers to the widespread misunderstanding of the Chinese issue in Washington, and considered that the rumors circulated recently about the disappearance of the Chinese president are the best evidence of this.
Travel rules for Covid-19 precautions require travelers to be isolated upon their arrival in China for 10 days, and this is what happened with the president after his participation in the Samarkand Summit of the Shanghai gathering last month, which was not understood in the West.
The CPC congress will witness a movement of broad appointments to various leadership positions to implement Xi's domestic and foreign agenda over the next five years.
The Chinese president is not expected to name a successor during the conference, as he does not want someone else to compete with him at a time when no one knows how Xi is thinking about his political future.
2,296 delegates from the Communist Party will represent its estimated 90 million members.
The conference will witness the election of the Central Committee.
On the last day, there will be a plenary session in which this committee will agree on the composition of the membership of the Politburo and its Standing Committee, its most powerful decision-making body.
The conference will also serve as the actual announcement that China will change its strict policies to combat the COVID-19 virus, as social distancing measures will be eased.
Despite the absence of political freedoms in their western sense, says Professor Cheng, China knows a great societal openness to which technology has contributed greatly.
With the government controlling the public space and setting strict rules for circulating political discourse, there is ample space for non-political expression.
Celebrations of the centenary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing last year (Reuters)
Conference in a turbulent global environment
The convening of the Chinese Party Congress coincides with great tensions and risks, whether due to the continuing war in Ukraine, or tensions over Taiwan, in addition to the difficult economic conditions that most countries of the world suffer from.
Hence, the outcome of this conference will have an inevitable impact on the United States and the world.
The CPC General Secretary and Head of State (Xi) will play the most important role in shaping these results.
China believes that Washington is hostile, and that this approach has not changed with the change of the ruling party or the identity of the president, as President Biden did not change many of his predecessor Donald Trump's hard-line policies towards Beijing.
China sees that the dispute with the United States is structural, as Washington does not welcome the emergence of a competitor in the world arena that has huge economic, cultural, military and technological capabilities that are close to its American counterpart.
Professor Cheng believes that Washington has not known this kind of challenge in its recent history.
During the Cold War, the economic and technological difference between Washington and the Soviet Union was huge, unlike the situation with Beijing now.
On the Taiwan tensions, Zheng considered that maintaining the status quo is ideal for China at this time, as Beijing believes that Washington unjustifiably supports Taiwan, seeks to change the current situation, and exploits the issue of this island in an attempt to stop the broad Chinese development.
At the same time, China maintained a balanced neutrality in the Ukrainian war. While it did not condemn Russia, it also did not support the "invasion", while it was highly critical of NATO's efforts to expand eastward.
Beijing believes that Russia's defeat means that NATO, led by the United States, is free to pay attention to confront its global rise.