HomeWorld NewsChina’s biggest political confab is about to begin. What are the Two...

China’s biggest political confab is about to begin. What are the Two Sessions?

BEIJING — China is facing a tricky year ahead, with economic growth slowing, the population — and more importantly, the workforce — shrinking, markets in turmoil and tensions with the United States remaining high. The American presidential campaign will probably see an increase in anti-Beijing sentiment.

How will the ruling Communist Party deal with these challenges? We will get a good handle on policies and approaches when the “Two Sessions” begin in Beijing this week.

The meetings will probably last about nine days and will see about 5,000 delegates from around the country descend on the Great Hall of the People — the palatial building on one side of Tiananmen Square — many of them wearing the traditional dress of their people. The event is high on pomp and ceremony, and also on control: Traffic is rerouted and security is dramatically tightened.

The political proceedings will be highly choreographed, with most of the decisions having already been made by Communist Party leaders in advance, but the events give those leaders an opportunity to declare their intentions to the country. They’re also closely watched by outside observers looking for clues about the direction in which China is heading.

It’s particularly important this year because China’s economy, the world’s second-largest, is struggling. Li Qiang, the new premier and a loyal lieutenant of leader Xi Jinping, will give his first government “work report,” setting out the Communist Party’s growth target and economic strategy, as well as foreign policies.

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