EXPLAINER-How Chinese Xi Jinping rose to power in a decade


China’s Xi Jinping became the country’s top leader a decade ago when he was appointed general secretary of the Communist Party and chairman of the Central Military Commission at the party’s 18th congress. The following March, he became president. At the 20th Party Congress, due to start on October 16, Xi is expected to secure a third term in office, cementing his stature as the country’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic. from China.

Xi accumulated power both through specific one-off moves and gradually over time. In doing so, he moved China from a tradition of collective leadership, with the general secretary seen as the first among equals on the politburo standing committee, to what is now widely regarded as supreme leadership. Here are the main ways in which Xi has strengthened his grip, according to analysts and experts:

— He circumvented economic policy-making responsibilities usually held by the prime minister by chairing various “small leading groups”, including a new group formed in 2012 after he came to power for “reform and opening up”, as well as an existing group on finance. – He undertook an extensive campaign to purge officials deemed disloyal, corrupt or ineffective, and built his power base by filling these vacancies with allies. So far, 4.7 million civil servants have been investigated.

– Xi has entrusted trusted allies with the management of the party’s human resources who control the appointments of key personnel. His first head of the organization department was Zhao Leji, whose father had worked under Xi’s father; he was followed in 2017 by Chen Xi, a former Xi classmate from Tsinghua University. – He tightened control of the military by launching sweeping reforms and cuts from 2015.

– He controlled the Homeland Security apparatus with an ongoing “cleansing” campaign that has brought down many police chiefs and judges. – From 2015, he ordered parliament and other bodies, including the cabinet and the Supreme Court, to inform him of their annual work reports

– Xi told state media in 2016 to toe the party line, that their “surname is the party.” Since then, media freedom has steadily declined, while Xi-related propaganda has steadily increased. – He officially established himself as the “core” of the party – spokesperson for the supreme leader, in 2016.

– Xi amended the party constitution in 2017 to include Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. Having an eponymous ideology only put him on par with Mao and Deng Xiaoping. – He made explicit the supreme role of the party by proclaiming in 2017: “Party, government, army, people, education; east, south, west, north, central: the party rules everything.”

– He amended the country’s constitution in 2018 to abolish term limits on the presidency, removing a hurdle for him to rule for life. – The party pledged to uphold the “Two Established” party-speak for loyalty to it, in a landmark resolution passed in 2021.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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