In November, the Club of Three held its fourth and final webinar on the topic of Europe and China for the year 2022. This one-hour online event with a group of 25 senior figures from France, Germany and the UK discussed outcome of China’s Communist Party Congress.
This quinquennial CPC saw the appointment of a ‘refreshed’ leadership team with new members of the Politburo’s Standing Committee believed to be close allies of President Xi Jinping. Xi now began a third five-year term, in a departure from the traditional two-term limit for Chinese Presidents.
There were plenty of questions arising: How much power would President Xi really have following the outcome of October’s Party Congress? What should we read into the new appointments to the Standing Committee and the Politburo? What leverage would these bodies have in decision-making? What was the significance of the wording used on Taiwan, the region and international issues? What were the prospects for economic reform, strategic autonomy and trade and investment relations with the West?
These questions were addressed by our two China specialists:
*Professor Lanxin Xiang, Professor Emeritus at the Graduate Institute of International Development Studies, Geneva; Research Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Senior Fellow at the Stimson Center
*Bernhard Bartsch, Director of External Relations at the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS). Bernhard Bartsch previously headed the Asia Program at the Bertelsmann Stiftung in Germany
Participants included: Sir John Sawers (Chief of Secret Intelligence Service MI6, 2009-2014; UK’s Permanent Representative to the UN, 2007-09); Isabel Hilton (Founder and Senior Adviser, China Dialogue); Ralph D. Thiele (Colonel Ret.; Chairman, Politisch-Militärische Gesellschaft; CEO, StratByrd Consulting); Peter Watkins (Associate Fellow, Chatham House; Director General Strategy and International, UK Ministry of Defence, 2014-18); Sarah Raine (Consulting Senior Fellow for Geopolitics and Strategy, International Institute for Strategic Studies); Ian Bond (Deputy Director, Centre for European Reform); Lord Sassoon (British Conservative peer and Chairman of the China-Britain Business Council)