Why Did China’s Top Leaders Meet Frequently in October?

October 26, 2020 Updated: November 17, 2020


The Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s top leadership met on numerous occasions this month, and the frequency of such meetings is noteworthy as it’s a rare occurrence. What was the purpose of the meetings? What were the topics of discussion? China’s ailing economy and its strained relations with the United States are the two biggest issues that the CCP fret over.

On Oct. 16, state media Xinhua reported that Chinese leader Xi Jinping hosted a meeting in Beijing with the Politburo, a body of the Party’s 25 most powerful officials. The Politburo discussed a Chengdu-Chongqing dual-city development plan and quantum technology.

On Oct. 19, Xi, along with the other six members of the Politburo Standing Committee, and Chinese vice chair Wang Qishan visited an exhibition in Beijing commemorating the 70th anniversary of China’s participation in the Korean War. Xi gave a speech with anti-U.S. overtones.

On Oct. 22, Xi and the Politburo Standing Committee held a meeting to discuss the 13th Five-Year Plan and outlook for the 14th Five-Year Plan. He gave a speech about China’s economy and proposed measures to counter the obstacles.

Xi said, “The implementation of the 13th Five-Year Plan has been smooth … with improvements in economic structure, rural modernization, poverty relief, ecological environment and deepening all-round reform.”

Xi stated that China faces “the new contradictions and challenges brought by the complex international environment.”

To boost China’s economy, Xi said it is necessary “to nurture a new development pattern that takes the domestic market as the mainstay while letting domestic and foreign markets boost each other.” In other words, the proposed “dual-cycle” economic strategy means that China would rely more on its domestic market, industrial chain, and science and technology; but at the same time, China would keep its market open—it is not a closed-door economic policy.

Xi pushed for socialism with Chinese characteristics: “Secure a good start in fully building a modern socialist country.”

It is interesting to note that Premier Li Keqiang is not optimistic about China’s current economic state. On Oct. 21, Li led an executive meeting with the State Council, in which he stated, “Protect small, medium and micro enterprises and individual industrial and commercial households, so that they can survive as much as possible, and therefore to support employment.” Li admitted that the country is facing an unemployment crisis as many people have lost their jobs amid the pandemic and the country’s weakening economy.

The CCP’s Propaganda Department dictates the trend and content of the media’s report. Chinese state media have openly voiced support for a Biden presidency.

On Oct. 22, Xinhua reported on the U.S. presidential debate with an article titled, “The Epidemic Redefines the U.S. Election, More Than 43 Million Americans Have Already Voted.” The report was more favorable of Democratic Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden, claiming that “Biden earns more trust than Trump.”

Xinhua criticized President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 pandemic response, stating, “How the pandemic has been handled is generally considered the weakest point of Trump.”

According to Xinhua’s article, Biden will win. This is most likely what the high-level CCP leaders are hoping for.

If Trump gets re-elected, then this is what the CCP fears most.

The frequent Politburo meetings held this month suggest that Xi is quite anxious about domestic and international affairs. At the high-level meetings, he tries to prove himself as the “core leader” by rolling out new reforms. If China’s economy collapses, then the CCP will also fall.

Zhong Yuan is a researcher focused on China’s political system, the country’s democratization process, human rights situation, and Chinese citizens’ livelihood. He began writing commentaries for the Chinese-language edition of The Epoch Times in 2020.

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