China's President Xi Jinping arrives for the second plenary session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 9, 2016.
Damir Sagolj / Reuters

The Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress, which is held every five years, was once considered a dull affair, recalling images of old men dozing through long speeches. That changed in 2012, when an intense intraparty competition before the 18th National Congress led to a diplomatic incident at a U.S. consulate. It involved a Chinese official who sought asylum for having confronted Bo Xilai, a rising-star Politburo member whose wife was later implicated in the murder of a British businessman. That was followed by a Ferrari crash in Beijing that killed a senior official’s son and rumors of a coup attempt. The prelude to this fall’s 19th National Congress seems unlikely to be so dramatic. But with the July dismissal of Chongqing’s party chief Sun Zhengcai, who is under investigation by the party’s disciplinary watchdog, the atmosphere is tense. As one of only two next-generation leaders

To read the full article

  • ANDREW GILHOLM is Principal and Director of Analysis for China and North Asia at Control Risks.
  • More By Andrew Gilholm