China’s annual “two sessions” meetings that began on March 4, saw major reforms and government appointments, as well as the final formalisation of Xi Jinping as the President of People's Republic of China unanimously for a third term.
What is 'two sessions'
The 'two session' annual event involves the meeting of National People’s Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). As per a report in the Guardian, both these bodies hold their annual meetings separately during this period, but at the same time. CPCC is an advisory body, whereas the 3,000-member NPC is the CCP’s legislative body, with very little control over matters. Members of the NPC include business executives, celebrities, and celebrated individuals.
Xi appoints new premier at meet
President Xi Jinping named Li Qiang, a close confidant, as the country's next Premier, nominally in charge of the world's second-largest economy, now facing some of its worst prospects in years. He takes on the job even as the authority of the Premier and the State Council, China's Cabinet, has been steadily eroded by Xi as he shifts more powers to bodies directly under the ruling Communist Party.
China's struggle and new target
China's economy grew just 3 per cent last year, and on the opening day of the NPC, the Government set a modest growth target of about 5 per cent for 2023, its lowest goal in nearly three decades.
Xi Jinping's attempt for more control & policies around it at 'two sessions'
Courtesy of the two sessions of the National People's Congress, Chinese President Xi Jinping is attempting to bring the country's digital sector under the centralized control of the Chinese Communist Party, reported Bitter Winter, a magazine on religious liberty and human rights.
Two new agencies announced
The two new powerful and dangerous Chinese agencies -- National Financial Regulatory Administration and National Data Bureau -- mean more CCP control of the economy and the internet.
In his first speech at China's puppet Parliament, whose role is to rubber-stamp what the Central Committee of the CCP decides, Xi celebrated the Party's "victory" against Covid, tried to reassure about the economic data, and warned that China is under siege by the West, whose aim is to contain its growth and possibly overthrow the regime.
These may look like platitudes but are in fact the background of the two most significant decisions announced so far during the event. Since the West is attacking us, Xi insisted, we need more control and surveillance, including of the economic and financial sector, and certainly of the Internet (Xi's usual obsession), because any weakness will be immediately exploited by the enemy, reported Bitter Winter.
The most important development is the liquidation of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), which so far has been a very powerful agency regulating Chinese banking and finance.
New financial regulator
In its place, a brand-new National Financial Regulatory Administration (NFRA) will be established to govern the mammoth China's financial sector, although securities will not be included and will remain under the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), reported Bitter Winter.
The new NFRA will be under the direct administration of the State Council, while the old CBIRC was an independent agency under the State Council. This is not a minor change, as it means that the financial and banking sectors will be under stricter and more direct CCP control.
Another new institution emerging from the Two Sessions is the National Data Bureau (NDB), which will replace and absorb the Office of the Central Cybersecurity Commission (OCCC), under the direct supervision of the CCP's Central Committee.
Together with the Digital China 2023 Plan, the establishment of the new Bureau is a new attempt at reaching the elusive goal of total control of the internet, reported Bitter Winter.
(With ANI inputs)
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