The Communist Party of China has announced the elevation of the nation’s president, Xi Jinping, to an equal status with the country’s first Communist leader, Mao Zedong – allowing Xi to use more authoritarian methods to promote his ideology of “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”
The 19h Party Congress, a gathering of the country’s top Communist Party elite held once every five years in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, unanimously moved to enshrine “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in a New Era” in the nation’s constitution.
The move will make Xi the most powerful Chinese leader in decades, as only Mao Zedong (the nation’s Communist founder) and Deng Xiaoping (who directed the country’s economic reforms following the death of Mao) have their names and ideologies enshrined in the Chinese constitution.
Their ideologies are compulsory learning for Chinese students from primary schools to universities.
Xi’s ideology encompasses two key principles: the Communist Party is in complete control of every aspect of life in China, from the economy to the Internet, to politics and culture, and must not be questioned. In addition, China is on a path to become a global superpower – a path it has laid out on its own terms.
“The amendment of the party constitution effectively confirms Xi Jinping’s aspiration to be the Mao Zedong of the 21st century — that means a top leader with no constraints on tenure or retirement age,” declared Willy Wo-Lap Lam, a political expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
“The fact that he has become the new helmsman of the ship of state, providing guiding principles for party, state and military, provides the perfect justification for him to stay number one well beyond the normal 10 years.”
Zhang Ming, a political analyst in Beijing, noted that despite his elevation in status, Xi does not enjoy broad support among the Chinese people.
“This [elevation] is a result of the party’s political system and not of the sincere support of the people’s hearts,” he said. “If he can achieve that, he would become Mao.”