Explainer-How China’s Xi Jinping accumulated power in a decade According to Reuters

© Reuters. PHOTO FILES; China’s President Xi Jinping attends a welcoming ceremony for Brazilian President Michel Temer (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China September 1, 2017. REUTERS / Thomas Peter

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Xi Jinping became the country’s top leader a decade ago when he was named general secretary of the Communist Party and chairman of the Central Military Commission at the 18th congress. of the party. The following March, he became president.

At the 20th Party Congress, scheduled to begin on October 16, Mr. Xi is expected to secure a third leadership term, cementing his stature as the most powerful ruler in the land. country since Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic of China.

Xi accumulates power through specific moves once and gradually over time. In doing so, he shifted China from a tradition of collective leadership, with the general secretary being seen as the top of the ranks among his peers on the politburo standing committee, to an area that is now widely regarded as a leader. considered the supreme leader.

According to analysts and experts, the following are the main ways Xi has consolidated his power:

– He has shied away from the economic policy-making responsibilities normally held by the prime minister by chairing various “small leadership groups”, including a new one formed in 2012 after he came to power for “reform and opening up”, as well as an existing group on finance.

– He waged an extensive campaign to purge officials deemed disloyal, corrupt or ineffective, and built his power base by filling those vacancies with ally. To date, 4.7 million officials have been investigated.

– Xi Jinping puts trusted allies in charge of the party’s human resource management, who control key personnel appointments. His first Director of the Organization Department was Zhao Leji, who had worked under Mr. Xi’s father; He was followed in 2017 by Chen Xi, an old classmate of Xi’s from Tsinghua University.

– He tightened control of the military by initiating sweeping reforms and laid off his job in 2015.

– He controls the domestic security apparatus with an ongoing campaign of “purge” that has brought down several police chiefs and judges.

– Since 2015, he has ordered parliament and other bodies including the cabinet and the supreme court to brief him on their annual work reports.

– Mr. Xi told state media in 2016 to confirm the party line, that “their surname is the party”. Since then, media freedom has steadily declined, while propaganda related to Xi has steadily increased.

– He officially asserted himself as the “core” of the party – the party said of the supreme leader, in 2016.

– Xi revised the party constitution in 2017 to include Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. There is an ideology of the same name that only puts him on a par with Mao and Deng Xiaoping.

– He clearly demonstrated the supreme role of the Party when declaring in 2017: “Party, government, army, people, education; east, south, west, north, center: the party leads all” .

– He revised the country’s constitution in 2018 to abolish term limits on the president, removing an obstacle to him staying in power for life.

– The party pledges to uphold the “Two Bases”, the party says allegiance to him, in a historic resolution passed in 2021.


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