Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Is the Sole Exception to Retire at 68 – A Dilemma – Bloomberg

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China, is expected to vote for an unprecedented third term at the party’s congress next month. There is a custom in the leadership to retire at the age of 68 at the time of the party convention, but it is debatable whether Mr Xi, who is 69, will rewrite this unspoken rule and allow exceptions. not only for himself but also for other senior officials.

A Bloomberg analysis of government data shows that the requirement to retire at 68 has been universally observed for the past 20 years, but party officials have called such an age limit an “age limit”.folklore” and once fired.

Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi, 3rd term doesn’t mean rule for life – no successor in sight

Chinese Leaders Hold Two Annual Policy Meetings - CPPCC Closing Session

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping

Photographer: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Removing the age limit presents a dilemma. It would remove the neutral selection criteria that three generations of party leaders have used to weed out rivals and even promote close aides.

Experts point out that it is more likely that only Mr. Xi will be an exception, but if that happens he will face a mountain of challenges, including escalating tensions with the United States over the situation in Taiwan, an economic slowdown and a worsening real estate crisis. Young, inexperienced cadres will be at Xi’s side.

There is no country for old people

Nearly half of China’s 19th Politburo is past retirement age

Source: Data compiled by Bloomberg

The practice of retiring at the party convention if over 68 and remaining in office if under 67, known as “seven tops and eight bottoms”, began in party congress in 2002, when general secretary Jiang Zemin resigned. .

The rule prevented Jiang’s rival Li Ruihuan, then 68, from remaining on the Politburo Standing Committee and forced him to resign. General Secretary Hu Jintao, who succeeded Mr. Jiang, also resigned in 2012 to comply with this rule and upheld the custom of limiting general secretaries to two terms.

The 18th CPC National Congress - Closing Ceremony

Hu Jintao (left) and Jiang Zemin

Photographer: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

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