Question 4 of 5 in China Politics
Started Mar 18, 2021 01:00PM UTC   •   Closing Jan 01, 2023 04:59AM UTC

Will Chen Min'er be a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee on December 31, 2022?

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Context. The Chinese Communist Party is set to select a new Standing Committee of the 25-member Politburo of its ~370-member Central Committee at a meeting that will be held right after the 20th Party Congress, likely in October or November 2022. This Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) is the country’s top leadership group. It usually has seven members, although its membership has varied from five to nine in the post-Mao era. 

Xi Jinping, who has been the Party’s paramount leader and top-ranked PBSC member since the 18th Party Congress in November 2012, has centralized power to an extent unseen since perhaps Mao Zedong, and is likely to secure a norm-defying third term as General Secretary in 2022. But given the opaque nature of intra-Party negotiations on leadership appointments, questions remain as to the full extent of his authority. Whether Xi can install more of his political allies onto the next PBSC will be a key indicator of his political power.

While Xi, who turns 69 years old in 2022, would have to exempt himself from a 20-year-old norm that cadres aged 68 or older are not appointed to a new PBSC term, such exemptions were not forthcoming for close Xi allies at the 19th Party Congress in 2017. Therefore, if only Xi gets an age exemption, then two PBSC members will retire in 2022 (although it’s also possible that some younger members will fail to win reselection). Past practice indicates that new members on the next PBSC will almost certainly be selected from the current Politburo.

Chen Min’er is tipped by some analysts as a major figure in the next generation of Chinese political leaders. He turns 62 in 2022 and so will be young enough to serve two PBSC terms under prevailing norms. He sits on the Politburo as Party Secretary of Chongqing, a position that was a launching pad for many former PBSC leaders. And he is seen as a protégé of Xi (who often promotes people he knows personally), having worked as director of the provincial propaganda department when Xi was Zhejiang Party Secretary from 2002-2007. But Chen will have to compete with other hopefuls and avoid any impression that he poses a threat to Xi’s authority.

Resolution details. This question resolves based on the leadership positions listed on the website of People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee. 

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This question was contributed by Neil Thomas and Jordan Schneider.

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Name Probability
Yes 75%

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