China Confirms Xi Jinping’s Power, Removes No. 2

China on Saturday amended the Communist Party constitution to bolster the status of leader Xi Jinping and for the first time enshrined its opposition to Taiwan’s independence.

Xi is all set to begin an amended third term as China’s leader on Sunday, as he further tightened his grip on the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Saturday through new changes to the party charter and the easing of top leaders, including Prime Minister Li Keqiang to make room for allies in the highest leadership hierarchy.

Xi is expected to be named CPC general secretary on Sunday and begin his third term as president in March 2023. The week-long 20th National Congress of the CPC concluded on Saturday with 2,296 delegates electing a new Central Committee (CC) of 205 members.

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The new CC did not include four current members of the CPC’s seven-member Politburo Standing Committee (SC), including Li, who was number two after Xi, Wang Yang, once tipped to replace the prime minister, former Shanghai party leader Han Zheng , and Li Zhanshu who was the head of the Chinese parliament, the National People’s Congress. Li Keqiang will remain prime minister until March 2023 before giving way to the new prime minister at the end of China’s annual NPC session.

A resolution to add “Two Establishes” and “Two Upholds” was unequivocally passed during the closing session of the 20th National Congress of the CPC in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, aimed at strengthening Xi’s core status in the party. and improve the leadership of his political thinking.

The first “Two Settlements” mean: Establishing Xi’s status as the “core” of the CPC Central Committee and of the entire party and establishing the “leading role of Xi Jinping thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics” for the new era”. “Two fulcrums” means to ensure the “core” status of Xi within the CPC and to protect the centralized authority of the CPC.

Together, the additions cement Xi’s status as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, founder of modern China in 1949.

The constitution was also amended at the last National Congress in 2017, when the “Xi Jinping Thought of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in the New Era” was added, aligning it with leaders Mao and Deng Xiaoping.

As for Taiwan, the CPC has passed a resolution banning Taiwanese independence in the constitution, signaling Beijing’s hardening against the self-governed democracy that China claims as its own territory.

“(Congress) agrees to include in the party constitution statements about … resolute opposition to and deterrence of separatists seeking ‘independence of Taiwan,'” the resolution said.

Referring to the amendment added to the constitution in the context of Taiwan and the armed forces, the official statement read: “These revisions reaffirm the party’s commitment to build a strong military with Chinese characteristics, and to and make steady progress with the One Country, Two System policy, promoting national reunification…”

The main meeting, which kicked off on Oct. 16, reaffirmed Xi’s “core position” under the CPC leadership, but virtually assured that he will face an unprecedented third term in power on Sunday, when China’s new top leadership will be unveiled. .

All party members will be required to “maintain Comrade Xi Jinping’s core position in the Party Central Committee and in the party as a whole,” according to a unanimously passed resolution on amendments to the party charter.

“These revisions will help all party members to maintain and strengthen the centralized, united leadership of the Central Committee and strengthen cohesion and forge the soul of the party with Xi Jinping thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era. “

Other phrases or ideas that have been adopted into the constitution include developing “fighting spirit”, promoting “Chinese-style modernization”, recognizing the party as the “supreme political leadership power”, and gradually achieving “common welfare”.

“Whoever is appointed (on Sunday) will fully endorse the politics associated with Xi. China is now a country without factions. And at the very top, the level of consensus and agreement is quite striking,” said Kerry Brown, director of the Lau China Institute and professor of Chinese studies at King’s College, London.

In his speech at the close of Congress on Saturday, Xi said: “We need to improve our capacity for political judgment, thinking and execution. We must take the lead in maintaining the authority of the Central Committee and its centralized, unified leadership.”

Read also| Xi Jinping would be the ‘sinner’ of all Chinese if he attacks Taiwan, official says

“It is difficult for Xi to move forward in terms of centralization and concentration of power. Security will continue to trump everything, including economic growth: so this set of priorities clearly forces Xi into a high degree of control and centralization,” Jean-Pierre Cabestan, Professor Emeritus, Department of Government and International Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Hong Kong Baptist University, said.

While Xi gained support for a historic third term, his predecessor’s dramatic removal from the event also made headlines. In an unexpected move, former leader Hu Jintao was led out of the closing ceremony. The petite-looking 79-year-old seemed reluctant to leave the front row where he sat next to Xi. No official statement was made, but state media later said that Hu Jintao was unwell when he left.

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