Session wrapped Thursday with official communique . . .
The 4th Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China took place between October 28-31. The Plenary Session, which occurs at least once every year, serves as a top forum for discussion on national policy in China. This year’s meeting took place after the longest gap in the post-Mao period, occurring approximately one year and eight months after the last meeting in February 2018. The meeting took place behind closed doors, but a communique was published in China’s official media at the conclusion of the Session on Thursday.
Still waiting on the details . . .
Important decisions are typically made at these plenary sessions. The previous Plenary Session, for instance, stipulated revisions to the structure of State Council ministries. And the 2014 Plenary Session emphasized the promotion of the rule of law, which resulted in a series of legal reforms in China. While the communique for this week’s Session lacks detail, we know that the Central Committee approved a new document on the modernization of governance, and once this document becomes publicly available, either in several days or weeks, we will likely see more concrete initiatives for significant policy reforms in the Peoples Republic of China.
Special language on Hong Kong . . .
The communique, meanwhile, appears to emphasize seemingly contradictory principles: it aspires to strengthen Party control and centralize leadership while promoting citizen participation and the rule of law. It will be interesting to see how the Party reconciles these contradictory principles. In addition to governance reforms, the Chinese-language version of the communique (but not the English one) contained a clause alluding to future policies in Hong Kong – “The construction of legal system and implementation mechanism for the protection of state security in Special Administrative Zones.” It will be interesting to see how this agenda, which suggests the tightening of Beijing’s control over Hong Kong, unfolds in the coming weeks/months.