Xi Jinping gets fresh 5-year term, name added to Chinese constitution

The Communist Party of China (CPC) today endorsed a second five-year term for President Xi Jinping and amended its constitution to add his name and ideology, putting him on a par with party founder Mao Zedong and his successor Deng Xiaoping.

 
President Xi Jinping  

Former leaders Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin also had their ideologies incorporated in the constitution. But unlike Mao and Deng, their names were not included.

Xi's concept of "socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era" was added to the constitution at the end of the CPC's week-long Congress.

The amendment to the constitution made 64-year-old Xi's ideology a new component of the party's guide for action, according to a resolution of the 19th CPC National Congress.

An estimated 780,000 people have visited a vast exhibition in west Beijing put on by the Communist Party's propaganda department to coincide with the party's twice-a-decade national congress, at which Xi received a second five-year term in office – and according to observers, Xi's face loomed from virtually every wall at the exhibition.

The two events - one teeming with ordinary citizens, the other taking place behind closed doors under heavy security - show both how Xi has centralised power under his control and how he is leading China into what officials portray as a confident new era.

Since Xi assumed the party's leadership in 2012, dissident historians have warned that his accumulation of power could slide dangerously into something resembling the excesses of Mao Zedong. Rival Communist Party factions have seethed as Xi's anti-corruption campaigns have landed political challengers and potential successors in jail, while stepping up supervision of cadres at all levels.

Chinese and international rights activists, meanwhile, have railed against Xi's crackdowns on dissent and universal values more harshly than against any leader in decades.

But the thronging Beijing exhibition, titled 'Five Years of Grinding and Brave Struggle', shows how Xi has pulled the levers of nationalism and populism to win over the masses.

The CPC conference, attended by over 2,350 delegates, ended at the Great Hall of the People, the seat of power of China's Communist leadership.

Xi and Premier Li Keqiang (62), ranked number one and two in the CPC hierarchy, would continue based on a two five-year tenure convention for top leaders. Xi and Li took charge in 2012 and are now set to continue till 2022.

Five new members will be elected to the seven-member Standing Committee of the party. The new standing committee will be unveiled for China and the world on Wednesday when they would formally appear in front of the media in a live telecast.

Reports in the Hong Kong media said that Xi may not have his way at the congress, as his closest aide Wang Qishan, who led the massive anti-corruption campaign in which Xi's opponents were allegedly crushed, is likely to step down from the powerful standing committee, belying speculation that he would be retained by overriding the 68-year retirement rule.

Also, the congress may keep the number of the standing committee members to seven, contrary to reported preference of Xi to reduce its number to five.

The new committee may retain balance of power among various factions within the party though Xi may still remain powerful with the induction of some of his close associates into it, the reports said.

As China enters a new era, the CPC must write a new chapter of 21st century Marxism with a broader vision to achieve the goals set at the milestone congress, Chen Shuguang, a professor with the Party School of the CPC Central Committee told state-run Xinhua news agency.