Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday created history, becoming the first leader of the ruling Communist Party after party founder Mao Zedong to get re-elected for an unprecedented third term in power with the prospect of ruling China for life.
Xi, 69, was elected Sunday morning as General Secretary of the Communist Party for 3rd five-year tenure by the Central Committee, which was constituted a day earlier by the once-in-a-five-year Congress.
The Central Committee session, presided over by Xi, was attended by 203 members of the 20th CPC Central Committee and 168 alternate members, an official communique here said.
The Central Committee also approved a 24-member Political Bureau which in turn elected a seven-member Standing Committee, which is packed with Xi’s supporters.
In a familiar pattern, all seven members of the Standing Committee, the most powerful body that governs the country, walked in a file with Xi leading the group at the ornate Great Hall before the media. Their appearance was telecast live on the national media.
I was re-elected as the General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, Xi said and introduced the other six, two of them were from the previous committee.
The other six are Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang and Li Xi.
Both Zhao and Wang, who is the ideologue of Xi, are the members of the previous committee.
Li Qiang, head of the Shanghai CPC, is regarded as a close associate of Xi and widely expected to be promoted as Premier in March to replace the incumbent Li Keqiang who retired.
Li Qiang’s selection has raised eyebrows as Shanghai performed gravely during the recent COVID-19 spike leading to the closure of over 25 million strong city for weeks. The prolonged lockdown during which people suffered for basic necessities invoked strong criticism from the public.
A notable official who was elevated to the Political Bureau is the Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi, 69, who was previously a Central Committee member.
Wang, who is selected in spite of been crossed the retirement age of 68 for top officials, is expected to play a significant role in shaping Xi’s foreign policy.
Also, the Political Bureau has reappointed Xi as the Chairman of the all-powerful Central Military Commission (CMC), the overall high Command of the Chinese military.
With this, Xi will continue to hold all top power centres, the Presidency, the head of the Communist Party and the CMC.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Generals Zhang Youxia and He Weidong were appointed as the Vice Chairmen of the CMC.
The other CMC members included top military officials Li Shangfu, Liu Zhenli, Miao Hua and Zhang Shengmin. They will head different branches of the military, including the Navy and the Rocket Force.
Like his previous two tenures, Xi is the only civilian in the CMC.
Addressing the media, Xi said China and the world need each other and projected a positive picture of the Chinese economy, which is in a slowdown mode especially due to his resolve to implement the zero-COVID policy resulting in lockdowns of several top cities leading to supply chain disruptions.
Just as China cannot develop in isolation from the world, the world needs China for its development. The Chinese economy has a great reliance potential and latitude. Its strong fundamentals will not change and it will remain on a positive trajectory over the long run. China will open its doors wide, he said.
We will be steadfast in deepening reform and opening-up across the board in pursuing high-quality development. A prosperous China will create many more opportunities for the world, Xi said, playing down concerns at home and abroad over his emphasis on Marxism and his new goal to turn China into a modern socialist country.
To the cadre of the CPC, Xi said, We must show greater historic initiative in adopting Marxism to the Chinese context and the needs of the times write new chapters in developing socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era.
We must make sure that our century-old Party, the biggest in the world, will become ever more vigorous through self-reform and continue to be the strong backbone that the Chinese people can lean on at all times. —PTI