China Leadership Monitor

The 16th Party Congress: A Preview

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

The 16th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will convene November 8, 2002. It and the First Plenary Session of the 16th Central Committee that will immediately follow the congress will overhaul China's top leadership, including the Central Committee, the Politburo, the Politburo Standing Committee, the secretariat, and the CCP's Central Military Commission. The congress will also revise the CCP's party charter—to what extent and in what way will be watched closely—and issue a political report, which will review the party's achievements and amend its ideology. Although much anticipated, this party congress is unlikely to provide a sharp turning point in party policy. The influence of Jiang Zemin and/or his close supporters will persist. The political transition many are hoping for is likely to be drawn out, perhaps extending to the 17th Party Congress in 2007.