2 min read

Politburo Meeting: November 27, 2023

The Politburo met on Monday, November 27.

Two documents were discussed during the meeting:

  • Opinions on Certain Policies and Measures to Further Promote the High-Quality Development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt (关于进一步推动长江经济带高质量发展若干政策措施的意见); and
  • Communist Party of China Regulations on the Party's Leadership of External Work (中国共产党领导外事工作条例).

The meeting readout did not mention the Central Committee Third Plenum.

Third Plenum Timing

Some folks question whether Central Committee plenums will continue to be held...

They will.

The Central Committee plenum is a critical Party institution for formalising, legitimising and communicating decisions of the leadership. There is no indication that this institution is about to be discarded.

So, when will the Third Plenum be held?

The Third Plenum is usually convened towards the end of the year in the year after the Party Congress. The Party Congress happened in 2022, so the Third Plenum is expected to be in late 2023.

In the post-Mao era, we have seen Third Plenums held in the following months:

  • February (2018)
  • July (1977)
  • September (1988)
  • October (1984, 1998, 2003, 2008)
  • November (1993, 2013)
  • December (1978)

In recent years, Third Plenums were convened in October or November. The 2018 Third Plenum was an exception because of timetable issues with the PRC constitutional change (the one that removed presidential term limits).

I think the Third Plenum has not happened because the consensus-building process among the Party elite is still ongoing over a range of issues. Major uncertainties remain, indeed, over domestic economic and international outlook.

Under the Party Constitution, the Central Committee must convene plenums once per year. Since the Second Plenum was held in February 2023, it would not be a constitutional breach if another plenum was not held in 2023. But one must be held sometime in 2024.

Yangtze River Economic Belt

This post is for paying subscribers only