Chinese President Xi Jinping was selected by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to maintain his position as the party’s leader for a third term. The CCP vote is a culminating moment in Xi’s years-long pursuit of lifetime power.
The official Chinese state news agency, Xinhua, announced Xi’s third term as the party’s general secretary after a Sunday vote during the CCP’s twice-in-a-decade meeting. The vote at the CCP’s 20th Central Committee meeting was attended by 203 party members.
China had a two-term limit for its presidency, but Xi helped scrap that limit in 2018. With that limit gone, Xi could potentially rule indefinitely.
With this third term as party leader, Xi has more power than any Chinese political leader since Mao Zedong, the founder of the modern Chinese communist state.
In addition to giving him a third term as party general secretary, the CCP members at the meeting also voted to make Xi the chairman of the Central Military Commission and a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CCP’s Central Committee.
In addition to solidifying his own rule, Xi has brought along other loyalists to serve with him on the CCP’s Standing Committee, including Ding Xuexiang, Li Xi and Li Qiang.
In another exercise of his growing political power, Xi had his predecessor Hu Jintao escorted out of the CCP meeting on Saturday.
With his role as CCP leader secure, Xi can more easily pursue his political goals.
At the opening of the CCP party meeting last week, Xi laid out his goals of continuing China’s rapid military expansion. Xi also committed to “resolving the Taiwan question.”
While Taiwan governs itself as an independent nation, China considers the island a part of its territory and Chinese leaders have increasingly called for “reunification” with the island.
In his opening remarks at the CCP meeting, Xi said “we will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and the utmost effort.” Xi also said “we will never promise to renounce the use of force and we reserve the option of taking all measures necessary,” indicating the potential of China pursuing control of Taiwan by military force.