China’s Xi served his historic third term as president
Xi Jinping received a third term as Chinese president on Friday, capping a rise that has made him the country’s most powerful leader in generations.
The appointment by China’s legislature comes after Xi was enshrined in October for another five years as head of the Communist Party (CCP) and the military — the two more significant leadership positions in Chinese politics.
Since then, Xi, 69, has weathered widespread protests against his zero-Covid policy and its subsequent abandonment, which left scores dead.
Those problems were avoided at this week’s National People’s Congress (NPC), a carefully choreographed event also set to nominate Xi’s ally Li Qiang as the new premier.
And on Friday they handed Xi a third term as China’s president – the culmination of a remarkable rise in which he has risen from a relatively little-known party apparatchik to the leader of a global superpower.
Secondary school students gather in front of a screen showing an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the First National Congress Memorial of the Chinese Communist Party in Shanghai, China, on Friday. (Photo: Reuters)
His coronation will make him modern China’s longest-serving president and will mean that Xi will rule well into his 70s – barring a challenger.
Adrian Geiges, co-author of Xi Jinping: The Most Powerful Man in the World, narrates AFP He did not believe Xi was motivated by a desire for personal enrichment, although international media investigations revealed his family’s accumulated wealth.
“That’s not his interest,” said Geiges.
“He really has a vision of China, he wants to see China as the most powerful country in the world.”
– Tear up the rule book –
For decades, marked by the dictatorial rule and personality cult of founding leader Mao Zedong, China has eschewed one-man rule in favor of a more consensus-based but still autocratic leadership.
This model imposed a term limit on the largely ceremonial role of the presidency, with Xi’s predecessors Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao stepping down from power after 10 years in office.
Xi tore up that rulebook, scrapping term limits in 2018 and allowing a cult of personality to promote his all-powerful leadership.
But the start of his unprecedented third term at the helm of China comes at a time when the world’s second-biggest economy is facing major headwinds, from slowing growth and a battered real estate sector to a falling birth rate.
Relations with the United States are also at a low seen in decades, with the powers bickering over everything from human rights to trade and technology.
“We will see a more confident China on the global stage, insisting its narrative be accepted,” said Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute AFP.
“But it’s also one that will focus on making it domestically less dependent on the rest of the world and making the Communist Party the focus of governance rather than the Chinese government,” he said.
“It’s not a return to the Maoist era, but one that Maoists will feel comfortable in,” Tsang added.
“Not a direction of travel that is good for the rest of the world.”
Source: Crypto News Deutsch