This year’s Party Plenum, a once-every-five-years central planning extravaganza like no other, was announced Thursday to tentatively take place on October 18. “Tentatively” because the official decision won’t be made until after the 18th Party Congress 7th Plenum has ended on October 11, Xinhua announced.
What does this mean for us? Well, as is the case with every major meeting between China’s top brass in the capital, we can expect a serious disruption to our usual day-to-day goings on from October 11 until after the Plenum finishes. Want to use the Second Ring Road during rush hour? Perhaps. Want to update your family on how much fun you’re having via Facebook. Fat chance, hermano!
That last one is particularly important because, for those of us who weren’t around for the last Plenum in 2012, when VPN usage was rendered almost impossible, it may give us sneak peek into what life will be like come February next year when it is rumored that all VPNs will be banned outright.
And the rumors don’t stop there. Given that the Plenum itself is a means for China’s officials to meet and discuss policy direction for the coming years, as well as the election platform the new Central Committee who will then hold power until the 20th Plenum in 2022, it’s often shrouded unending speculation.
Given that most of us will return back from our October National Day holidays around the 8th, expect a stark contrast in ease of movement around the city and a decided decrease in the number of social media channels available for your selfies once you head to work the following week.