Hikvision Chairman and Communist Party Secretary Chen Zongnian joined the 20th China Communist Party National Congress in October 2022, a sign of the growing political power of Hikvision inside the PRC as the country attempts to achieve 'technological self-reliance.'
By IPVM Team
January 2, 2023
Back in 2018, IPVM reported that Chen joined the PRC government's National People's Congress. Now, in this report, IPVM examines Chen's previous involvement with the CCP, as well as the significance of his attendance as a delegate at the 20th Party Congress, and what it means for Hikvision.
Party Congress Background
The PRC is governed "under the leadership of the Communist Party," per its Constitution. The PRC has three major political events: two Congresses, and one Conference:
The China Communist Party's National Congress (全国代表大会) is the highest governmental gathering and is held every five years. The National Congress elects the CCP's highest leadership, sets the development plan for China, and provides political guidance for the next "Two Sessions 两会."
The National People's Congress (全国人民代表大会) or NPC is held annually in March. It includes China's only official legislature (China's parliament) and is one of the "Two Sessions."
The Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference 中国人民政治协商会议 or CPPCC, is held annually and concurrently with NPC and is one of the "Two Sessions" along with the NPC. The CPPCC has representatives from parties and organizations outside of the Party, and the main function is to propose issues discussed by the NPC.
First Time Attending Party Congress
The CCP National Congress was held in Beijing Oct. 16-22, 2022, and attended by Hikvision’s Chairman, Chen Zongnian, seen at the meeting below:
IPVM found no other records indicating Chen attended previous Party Congresses in 2017, 2012, and 2007. Chen served as a Zhejiang Province delegate - Hikvision is headquartered in Zhejiang.
Party Congress Delegate
Delegates to the CCP National Congress are selected from among the most influential and accomplished members of the Communist Party. These individuals' participation as delegates indicates their status in the hierarchy of the Party and often carries with it significant political influence. For example, there are ~97 million CCP members in China, but only 2,296 delegates were sent to the 20th CCP National Congress. Delegates endorse members for the Central Committee, the body of ~400 of the Party's top members, including Xi Jinping, who secured his third term as the CCP leader at the Party Congress.
Praises and Quotes Xi Jinping
Chen repeated parts of Xi's opening speech verbatim, e.g. the sentence that China must promote an "innovation-driven development strategy, opening up new fields and new tracks for development, and constantly shaping new drivers and new advantages for development" (创新驱动发展战略，开辟发展新领域新赛道，不断塑造发展新动能新优势) is word-for-word from Xi.
This is not the first time Chen repeated Xi Jinping verbatim. On October 6th, three weeks before the Party Congress, Chen gave a speech touting "technological self-reliance" (科技自立自强) and that "the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has entered a critical period" (中华民族伟大复兴进入了关键时期), both direct quotes/concepts from Xi Jinping.
Chen Previously People's Congress Delegate
In 2018, IPVM reported that Chen joined the People's Republic of China government, the National People's Congress, and was elected as one of 2,900 Deputies to the 13th National People's Congress 第十三届全国人民代表大会 for a term from 2018 to 2023.
This event was seen as highly significant for Hikvision, with Chen giving a media tour and granting interviews about Hikvision's artificial intelligence capabilities:
Strong Positive for Hikvision
This development is a strong positive for Hikvision, indicating its favored status in the PRC political system. The CCP National Congress is even more important than the People's Congress, given the Party's total control over the country. This helps Hikvision (itself part of the government) win large PRC government contracts, access the PRC's latest technology, and get continued favored treatment from authorities.
The reason for this increasing status is likely US technology sanctions, some of which were announced just weeks before the Party Congress. The Party, including Chen and Xi Jinping, are concerned about the "chokepoint" (卡脖子) problem where the PRC economy is too reliant on foreign technology in high-end fields like semiconductors and aircraft manufacturing.
Chen's new role and his speech indicates the PRC government believes Hikvision can help the PRC overcome this challenge by achieving stronger "technological self-reliance" (科技自立自强.)
Hikvision No Response
Hikvision did not respond to IPVM's request for comment. If they do, we will update.