Xi Jinping becomes most powerful leader since Mao with China’s change to constitution

Xi Jinping has been consecrated as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong after a new body of political thought carrying his name was added to the Communist party’s constitution.

The symbolic move came on the final day of a week-long political summit in Beijing – the 19th party congress – at which Xi has pledged to lead the world’s second largest economy into a “new era” of international power and influence.

At a closing ceremony in the Mao-era Great Hall of the People on Tuesday it was announced that Xi’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era had been written into the party charter.

“The congress unanimously agrees that Xi Jinping Thought … shall constitute [one of] the guides to action of the party in the party constitution,” a party resolution stated.

In a brief address to more than 2,200 delegates, Xi said: “Today we, more than 1.3bn Chinese people, live in jubilation and dignity. Our land … radiates with enormous dynamism. Our Chinese civilisation shines with lasting splendour and glamour.”

“Our party shows strong, firm and vibrant leadership. Our socialist system demonstrates great strength and vitality. The Chinese people and the Chinese nation embrace brilliant prospects,” Xi added.

Some see the historic decision to enshrine Xi’s concept as a clear hint that he will seek to remain in power beyond the end of his second – and supposedly last – five-year term, in 2022.

An even clearer indication of whether he is set on staying in power should come on Wednesday morning when Xi introduces China’s new top ruling council, the politburo standing committee, during a fiercely choreographed piece of political theatre that signals the start of his second term.

If the committee’s line-up – which is almost certain to be made up of seven men – includes no obvious successor, that would represent further proof that Xi plans to rule at least until 2027 and possibly beyond.

Read more at The Guardian.