Two Explainers on the CCP’s ‘Two Sessions’

A two part Explainer series from Charles Parton OBE and George Magnus explores the the social, political and ideological ramifications and the economic outcomes of the Chinese Communist Party’s ‘Two Sessions’ meetings.

Part one | Part two

In the first part of this series, Charles Parton OBE explains the purpose of the ‘Two Sessions’ meetings between the National People’s (NPC) Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Summarised, these are:

  • To boost national morale;
  • To reinforce instructions on important issues and policies; 
  • To act as a mechanism for the CCP to consult widely and take the temperature.

He then divides the points of interest into two categories – national security and common prosperity – by which to analyse the ‘Two Sessions’ outcomes in terms of their social, political and ideological content.

These are timely reminders that however successfully the ‘Two Sessions’ fulfils its goals of morale boosting, direction, and consultation, the picture painted by the centre is not always reflected in a vast country where, as the old saying goes: ‘Heaven is high and the emperor is far away’.

Charles Parton OBE

You can read the first explainer here.

In the second part of this series, George Magnus looks at the economic and policy backdrop to the ‘Two Sessions’, the main points and policies arising from the economic reports that were presented by the CCP, and the degree to which the main economic challenges facing the PRC are being addressed or overshadowed by other, more political concerns. 

He observes:

  • A stated GDP growth target of 5.5% in 2022 may be ambitious considering the continuing Covid-19 outbreaks and other headwinds facing the economy;
  • There are several domestic economic targets and goals that the CCP has not yet achieved;
  • An ageing population poses challenges to China’s economic growth and targets for 11 million new jobs in 2022;
  • The CCP remains reluctant to openly engage in a large-scale acceleration of credit growth.

Ultimately though, the PRC needs something very different: an institutional reform programme to deliver a productivity boost and distributional change to compensate for ‘common prosperity’ shortcomings and to offset the consequences of the ‘government, the military, society and schools, north, south, east and west – the party leads them all.’

George Magnus

You can read the second explainer here.