As the 20th National Congress approaches, Chinese social and media platforms have indicated many signals showing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s infighting.

These signals indicate that Xi Jinping’s political rivals continue to challenge Xi’s re-election in the third term. 

A Twitter post of Cai Xia, a retired professor at the Central Committee’s Party School, on June 02 is one example.

Cai referred to a regulation entitled “Interim Provisions on the Term of Office of Leading Party and Government Cadres.” 

The interim provision remains in effect today since it first took effect in 2006 and applies to incumbent leading officials of the CCP’s top echelon. 

According to the interim provision, the Party and government top cadres can only hold the same position for two consecutive terms or 15 years.

Shortly after, a Taiwan-based media outlet named Up Media released an article on June 5, mentioning this interim provision. The report indicates that the regulation possibly hampers Xi’s Party leadership extension. 

The article further commented that Xi had confronted substantive challenges to his re-election since the rubber-stamp legislature’s 19th national meeting in 2017. 

However, according to Feng Chongyi, a China-studies associate professor at the University of Technology, Xi’s opponents lack the political will to really challenge Xi’s succession. 

Feng supposes that no one would dare challenge Xi with the interim provision.

He said on June 06, “They would only avoid Xi’s attack so they can keep their posts.” 

Meanwhile, Yuan Hongbing, Beijing University’s former head of the Criminal Procedural law school, said that none of these so-called rules or regulations truly challenge Xi. 

Yuan said that the leaders could change both the CCP’s Constitution and the Party rules according to the CCP’s long-standing norms.

By contrast, commentator Li Linyi specializing in China and international affairs, supposes that the interim provision could send Xi into an ever-increasing attack from his rivals. 

Li said that Xi’s controversial strict zero-Covid policy brought China to the brink of economic and systemic collapse.

Li concluded that the CCP’s fierce infighting is “exhausting itself” and one of the “driving forces for the collapse of the CCP.”

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