The Chinese Communist Party on Saturday endorsed Xi Jinping’s “central position” in the leadership of the country, assuring that he will be given an unprecedented third term.
At the end of the week-long rally in Beijing, China’s ruling party approved a sweeping reshuffle that saw a number of top officials – including Prime Minister Li Keqiang – resign, allowing Xi to appoint new allies .
The largely buffered gathering of 2,300 party delegates was meticulously choreographed, with Xi determined to avoid any surprises as he cemented his leadership for the next five years.
But in an unexpected move that interrupted proceedings at the Great Hall of the People, former leader Hu Jintao was led out of the closing ceremony. No official explanation was given.
Delegates then approved a call for all party members to ‘support Comrade Xi Jinping’s central position in the Party Central Committee and in the Party as a whole,’ according to a unanimously passed resolution on the amendments. of the party charter.
Xi is now almost certain to be unveiled as general secretary on Sunday, shortly after the first meeting of the new Central Committee.
This will allow Xi to serve a third term as China’s president, to be announced during the government’s annual legislative sessions in March.
A new Central Committee of about 200 senior Party officials was elected soon after before the closing ceremony.
A list of officials from the newly elected group revealed that four of the seven members of the Party’s Standing Committee – the pinnacle of power – would retire.
Among them were current Prime Minister Li Keqiang, along with other members of the Politburo Standing Committee, Wang Yang – who has been touted as a possible successor to Li – Han Zheng, and Li Zhanshu.
Both Han and Li Zhanshu were expected to step down, after exceeding the informal age limit of 68 for Politburo officials – a requirement that was not extended to 69-year-old Xi.
Wang and Li Keqiang, both 67, could have remained on the Standing Committee or the 25-member Politburo for another five-year term.
Other senior Communist Party brass absent from the new Central Committee include senior diplomat Yang Jiechi and economic czar Liu He.
– Stamping –
Analysts were watching closely whether the charter would be amended to enshrine “Xi Jinping Thought” as its guiding philosophy, a move that would put Xi on a par with Mao Zedong.
This did not happen, although the resolution called the creed “the Marxism of contemporary China and the 21st century”, adding that it “embodies the best of the Chinese culture and ethos of this era”. .
Xi previously abolished the presidential two-term limit in 2018, clearing the way for him to rule indefinitely.
Congress effectively cemented Xi’s position as China’s most powerful leader since Mao.
“Xi’s power will be akin to that of the Chinese dictator, and there will be virtually no opportunity for anyone to advise him to attempt a course correction,” said Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute at the University of China. London.
One of the main outstanding questions is whether Xi will appoint a potential successor to the Politburo Standing Committee. This could be answered on Sunday when the Standing Committee is unveiled.
Delegates also enshrined opposition to Taiwan independence in the party constitution on Sunday. The party had always been committed to retaking the self-governing democratic island, by force if necessary.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)