Chinese President Xi Jinping will take the stage on Sunday to kick off a historic congress of the ruling Communist Party, where he is poised to win a third term that solidifies his place as China’s most powerful ruler since Mao Zedong. The congress comes at a tumultuous time, with Xi’s adherence to his zero-COVID policy battering the economy, while his support for Russia’s Vladimir Putin has further alienated China from the West. Still, diplomats, economists and analysts spoken to by Reuters say Xi is set to consolidate his grip on power. The roughly week-long congress will take place with around 2,300 delegates, mostly behind closed doors, in the vast Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square. The Chinese capital has ramped up security and intensified COVID screening. In nearby Hebei province, steel mills were instructed to cut back on operations to improve […]