As expected, Chinese President Xi Jinping was nominated for a third term as party leader on Sunday. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) agreed. Xi, who has been in power since 2012, can therefore remain president for at least another five years from March 2023. In doing so, he breaks with a tradition that Chinese leaders were allowed to rule for a maximum of ten years. The 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of China ended on Saturday with an unexpected twist, when Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao was evicted just before Jinping’s speech . Many analysts expect the 69-year-old leader to stay in the saddle longer. Since Deng Xiaoping, a maximum term of ten years was in effect, but Xi had it abolished in 2018. He was elected General Secretary of the Communist Party in 2012 at a time when it was plagued by corruption. Xi was seen as a “safe choice” that could contain the chaos in the party and restore discipline. In March 2013, barely six months after his appointment, he was also allowed to call himself president of China. With the extension of Xi’s term for five – and possibly even more – years, the CPC opts for continuity. One of Xi’s first feats of arms was to tackle corruption and unwelcome elements within the party. The noses had to go in the same direction again – Xi’s. He emerged as an ideologically straightforward leader, who had (alleged) opponents prosecuted and turned the party into an applause machine for his person again. Over the years, Xi’s personality cult was raised to Maoist levels. Freedom of expression, both online and offline, was also further curtailed. Also read: Who will tell Xi Jinping that China is not doing well? Big problems When he took office, the Chinese economy grew strongly. Domestic and foreign propaganda was also stepped up: the Chinese state system and past were once again glorified the old-fashioned way. In addition, Xi announced a grand plan to make China the most powerful and advanced country in the world by 2049 – exactly a century after Mao Zedong’s communist takeover. The country is now facing major problems: the economy is in the doldrums, the real estate sector is facing serious problems and the government’s zero-covid policy ensures that lockdowns are still regularly announced. Tensions with the United States are also rising. These matters will be Xi’s main challenge in the coming years. The five-year Congress opened last Sunday with ominous words against Taiwan , which Beijing considers a renegade province that must return to its mother’s womb. He stated that China would “never renounce any possible use of force” against the “separatist forces” – that is, the democratically elected government of Taiwan. He also hinted at continuing the strict corona policy.
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