Chinese leader Xi Jinping has secured a precedent-breaking third term as the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party after a week-ling political meeting that eliminated his key rivals for the party leadership.
The 20th Party Congress, the most important meeting of the CCP’s five-year political cycle, 2400 delegates and party members gathered in Beijing for a rubber-stamp major power reshuffle before its official close on Sunday.
Xi loyalists were revealed at the key positions in the country and the most powerful political body, the politburo standing committee, as they walked on the stage in order of rank.
“I was reelected as the general secretary of the CPC central committee,” Xi said in opening remarks, before presenting the six other members: Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang, and Li Xi.
The long-suspected reappointment of Xi Jinping as the party’s general secretary signals the overwhelming consolidation of power in Beijing since Mao. Xi has also retained the role of chair of the military commission, controlling the People’s Liberation Army. It is suspected that he will also retain the comparatively less powerful role of China’s president next year.
Among the first leaders to congratulate Xi were North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom Xi announced a limitless partnership earlier this year. Beijing under Xi has been loath to condemn Russia for its war crimes in Ukraine.
Many argue that Xi has stacked the senior Chinese Communist Party ranks with yes men, showing that he favors loyalty over merit, and wants to remain insulated from criticism and accountability.