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20th National Congress to open tomorrow

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A total of 2,296 delegates elected from the grassroots by millions of Party members across China will attend the Communist Party of China’s 20th National Congress, which is scheduled to open in Beijing on Sunday.

The spectrum of delegates is carefully designed to ensure a diversity of candidates. They come from different regions and demographic groups, including both genders and all ethnic minorities.

Grassroots Party members account for a significant proportion of the delegates, and those working in the frontline should have at least one third of the seats. Farmers, technicians and workers are priorities.

The whole election process includes five stages.

First, Party members nominate candidates. Second, all the nominees will be reviewed carefully. Those who pass the review will enter the third stage and have their names publicly available for feedback.

The fourth stage includes discussion and the formation of candidate shortlists. Lastly, each electoral unit votes for the final delegates.

The elected delegates to the National Congress will write an evaluation of the Party’s work over the past five years. They will also introduce potential revisions to the Party Constitution. Finally, they will elect a new leadership team for the next five years.

The CPC forms the core of China’s leadership. The CPC’s constitution defines it as the vanguard of the Chinese working class, the people, and the nation. It says the leadership of the CPC is the most essential feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. One constant in the constitution is the CPC’s commitment to its ultimate goal of realizing the communist ideology, seeking the happiness of the Chinese people, and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

When it was founded in July 1921, there were only 58 Party members. Today, its membership exceeds 96 million.

At the grass-roots level, there are more than 90 million Party members, who make up the CPC Party committees in China’s urban communities, villages, social institutions, state-owned firms, as well as in many private, local and foreign companies operating on Chinese soil.

Across cities, provinces and autonomous regions, there are CPC Party congresses that discuss local matters.

Higher up, over 2,000 representatives are elected to the CPC’s National Congress. The CPC Constitution stipulates that its National Congress is to be held every five years.

When the CPC National Congress is not in session, the CPC Central Committee is tasked to make decisions. The CPC Central Committee has around 200 full members and less than 200 alternate members. They are reshuffled every five years during the CPC National Congress.

Among the members of the CPC Central Committee, over 20 of them will form the Political Bureau, which gathers regularly to vote on important matters. Their decisions are based on one person, one vote. Once a majority is reached, they speak with a unified voice. This is based upon the Leninist idea of “Democratic Centralism”.

From the Political Bureau, several members are elected at the first plenary session of the newly formed CPC Central Committee to form the Political Bureau Standing Committee. Throughout the CPC’s history, the number of members in this top group, which reports to the Political Bureau, has varied from 5 to 11 people. The Political Bureau Standing Committee at present has seven members.

The CPC General Secretary convenes the meetings of the Political Bureau and Political Bureau Standing Committee. Since November 2012, Xi Jinping has served as the CPC General Secretary. He is also the president of China, having been elected by the National People’s Congress.

(CCTV+)

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Xi leads China’s reform, opening up in new era

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In December 2012, Xi Jinping, then newly elected general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, chose Guangdong, a frontier of China’s reform and opening up, as the destination of his first inspection tour.

During this trip, he issued a mobilization order to the whole Party and country.

“The decision to launch reform and opening up was right. We must keep to this correct path, ” he said. “We must stay unwavering on the road to the prosperity of the nation and the people.”

For over a decade, Xi has continuously planned the overall direction of reforms and promoted implementation.

2024 marks another significant year for deepening reform in the new era. Xi will lead the 1.4 billion Chinese people in jointly writing a new chapter of reform in the new era.

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Why elections for Presidency all political parties have promised to abolish?

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe is reported to have told the cabinet of ministers, priority has to be given to the IMF program to ensure economic stability and elections will have to be postponed till the IMF program is concluded. One newspaper report had it, the President had in fact informed the Election Commission too about postponing elections.

Postponing elections being a far cry, there is now a new debate mainly in Colombo circles, whether Basil’s request for a parliamentary election should precede the constitutionally scheduled Presidential election, or not. President Wickremesinghe is said to have told Basil then, it would be the Presidential election that would be held according to Constitutional provisions, but, if MPs need a parliamentary election sooner, they should have a resolution adopted in Parliament to that effect. This only needs a simple majority. With Mahinda Rajapaksa also endorsing the proposal for a parliamentary election first, Basil no doubt has the political clout to get the SLPP to move a motion in Parliament for a parliamentary election and have it passed. Yet they know, with no presidential candidate of their own, their future electoral politics will be a compromise with Wickremesinghe and they have to maintain space for a consensual path.

The main Opposition in Parliament, the SJB, has no intention in supporting Basil’s proposal for a parliamentary election before the presidential election, they have said. They are clear they want the Presidential election first. The JVP/NPP leadership is seriously in for a Presidential election. They are campaigning for the Presidential election with Anura Kumara as the candidate whom they believe has already won the election. All in all, Colombo seem to want a Presidential election for a “complete change” carrying the same rhetoric the “aragalaya” left as political chaos.

Sri Lanka does need a “change”
Fact remains, Sri Lanka does need a “change”. Not just a “complete change” but a huge change with a wholly new Constitution including the overhaul of the entire State apparatus and politics of governance right down to Local Government bodies. That change is not possible with an election for the Executive Presidency. That needs a new parliament, the legislative body for legislating the total change the people need. A change that begins with the abolition of the “Executive” Presidency, and transferring “executive power” back to Parliament.

Abolition of the “Executive” Presidency is a promise, a pledge given to people by all political parties at different elections during the past 30 years. It was the JVP that first demanded the abolition of the executive presidency at the October Presidential elections in 1994. After a bloody ruthless insurgency that was wiped out with equal brutality by State forces in late 1989, scattered remnants of the JVP regrouped and came to open politics at the 1994 August parliamentary elections contesting all districts except Jaffna, Vanni and Batticaloa in collaboration with Ariya Bulegoda’s Sri Lanka People’s Front (SLPF). They polled a mere 01.1 percent though the new leadership it was said, expected a total poll of 5% plus in few districts to be above the cut-off mark. JVP had only Nihal Galappaththi elected as their MP from Hambantota district, who was nominated as their presidential candidate at the 1994 October Presidential election.

After the parliamentary elections they realised, they would not poll even the 01.1% at a presidential election and thus made a compromise with the People’s Alliance (PA) presidential candidate Chandrika Kumaratunge (CBK) who was tipped to win the Presidential election. Negotiated through Minister Mangala Samaraweera, a very close personal ally of CBK, the JVP request of abolishing the Executive Presidency within six months from swearing in as president was conceded in writing and the JVP withdrew their candidate in support of CBK.  

Interestingly, then “The Hindu” correspondent in Colombo met former President Jayewardene, the architect of the Executive Presidency and asked him “Sir, you said this executive presidency is so powerful, it cannot only change the gender. PA candidate Chandrika has promised to abolish it. What have you to say on that?” After his usual haughty laugh, Jayewardene had told him “Meet me after it is abolished. I will then tell you”.

No political leader would abolish such power

Jayewardene was certain no political leader would abolish such power in presidency with legal immunity, they are eager to sit with. Since 1994 October, in almost all elections political leaders tried to outmanoeuvre each other by promising total abolition, immediate abolition and even using the election to have the mandate to abolish the executive presidency calling it the sole reason for all evils in the country including mega corruption. We thus had all political parties that usually gain representation in Parliament agreeing to abolish the dangerously authoritative presidency, but none serious about it once elected. The JVP backed presidential candidates from Mahinda Rajapaksa in November 2005 to Maithripala Sirisena in January 2015, guaranteed the presidency would be abolished as the first most important task when elected. It was in fact the JVP who were vociferous about abolishing the presidency in those election campaigns.

What is politically a clear fraud now with JVP is, driving a heavily funded campaign to have their JVP/NPP candidate Anura Kumara Dissanayake (AKD) elected to that same ruthlessly dictatorial executive presidency they condemned and wanted abolished over the past 30 years as the sole reason for mega corruption. They now remain stony silent on abolishing of the presidency. What is more disgracefully hollow is the political narrative they ride on, claiming they would “use the power the People would vest with them in electing AKD as president to create a society with dignity and equality to all”.

Sri Lanka is certainly at crossroads

Sri Lanka is certainly at crossroads and helplessly so. None in mainstream politics would lead this country on a right path to freedom, democracy and an inclusive society with socio-economic and cultural development. These political leaderships simply have no valid “development program” to back their criticism of the past and the present and their request for political power at the next “presidential” election. A larger crisis therefore is the timidity of the educated urban polity that has access to new information, new knowledge and new social discourses beyond geographical boundaries. They need to accept they have a social responsibility in intervening to create a realistic valid social dialogue and to pressure Governments to stay course. Almost a total lack of their independent intervention in social dialogue has allowed political parties with their own sectarian agendas, possibly with laundered black money to manipulate media, especially social media to dominate social thinking in urban circles. What this country immediately needs therefore is an alternative, realistic intervention in deciding how a new and an effective change could be achieved. First it is about creating a social lobby that would independently engage and address the people. Next is about establishing a Government that would be held responsible for the change needed. Thereafter it is about holding that Government responsible for the change and in implementing reforms necessary at every step of the way, without going into the usual selfish life and waking up yet again when elections are called for.

It is therefore not about electing a president once again to the post that had been condemned, had been socially accepted as dictatorial and therefore promised to be abolished, transferring executive power back to Parliament. It is not the president who could abolish the presidency. It is not the president who could legislate reforms necessary. It is not the president who could allocate public funds for social necessities. All that needs a government in parliament with an active social lobby to hold the elected government responsible to the people. Thus, we at crossroads need a new political phenomenon with people deciding on elections, the next Government and most importantly holding that Government responsible in delivery, with the more advantaged urban polity leading the way. Well, they have to accept their social responsibility is far heavier than what they would like to accept. 

– Kusal Perera

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2024 Boao Forum: Accelerating net-zero transition in Asia

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The Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference is held in Qionghai, China's Hainan Province, March 26, 2024. /CFP

The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference is being held in Boao, China’s southern province of Hainan from March 26 to 29. Its focus will be “Asia and the World: Common Challenges, Shared Responsibilities.” BFA Secretary General Li Baodong said this year’s BFA Annual Forum will focus on how the international community can work together to address challenges in the areas of four major topics: the global economy, social development, international cooperation and scientific and technological innovation.

National leaders, governmental officials, heads of international organizations, businesspeople, experts in various fields and the press will be invited from at least the 29 member countries of the BFA, which consists of most Asian countries.  

The first BFA meeting was held in Boao in February 2001. Now, it is a unique opportunity for Asian countries to review and discuss common problems and develop common action plans and policies.

On March 18, a launching ceremony was held in Boao for the “Boao Nearly Zero Carbon Demonstration Zone” by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the Hainan provincial government. 

The project aims to showcase China’s green and low-carbon technologies and practices to the world in a demonstration zone focusing on “almost zero” emissions technologies, such as photovoltaics, wind energy collectors, energy storage systems, and an organic waste treatment project.

Located within this demonstration zone are the renovated BFA International Conference Center, a press center and a hotel all of which showcase low-carbon energy technologies. These renovations and demonstrations at the BFA conference facilities should establish the context for many of the sessions in this year’s BFA Forum. They should also set a shining example of the potential innovative technologies for a low-carbon world.

This year’s preliminary conference agenda for the four days of meetings includes numerous general discussions concerning the common issues and current trends facing the BFA member countries. In terms of the net-zero transformation of Asia’s energy systems towards zero-carbon power, there are also a number of sessions.  

According to the International Energy Agency’s forecast, Asia will consume half of the world’s electricity by 2025, and as early as 2021, Asia’s carbon emissions accounted for half of the global emissions. Thus, Asia plays a key role in the transition to a low-carbon world. These BFA sessions will examine these potential transformations in Asia to grow the economy while at the same time reducing carbon emissions.

The transformation of low-carbon technologies will be highlighted in a number of  technology innovation sessions, including “Accelerating Transition towards Zero-Carbon Power” on March 26, “Sustainability Disclosure, the New Normal” on March 27, “Green Development: Inspiring a Shared Future for Urban and Rural Communities” on March 28, and so on.

Clearly, the innovative energy transformation will be a significant part of the BFA final press conference, any resulting recommendations and actions, and any resulting reports. Accelerating the net-zero transformation of Asia’s power system is of great significance to the global response to climate change and the realization of green development worldwide.

BFA will help lead national governments, intergovernmental organizations as well as the private sector in Asia as they work together to promote the energy revolution and strengthen cooperation in all aspects of this very important transformation.  

  • – Robert B. Weisenmiller
  • (news.cgtn.com)
  • Robert B. Weisenmiller, a special commentator on current affairs for CGTN, is a research affiliate at the California-China Climate Institute, University of California, Berkeley, and a former chair of the California Energy Commission. The article reflects the author’s opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN

(This story, originally published by CGTN has not been edited by SLM staff)

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