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Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping clinched his third five-year term as widely expected on 10 March 2023, making him the longest-serving president in the history of Communist China. The next five years seem ever more important for him, with challenges both in China and abroad. Nearly 3,000 members of the National People's Congress voted unanimously for Xi, who was the only candidate. This made Xi the longest-serving head of state of Communist China since it was founded in 1949.

Xi first became president in 2013, and once again in 2018 when he abolished term limits. Against this backdrop, his third presidential term was widely expected, as the presidency in China is reportedly a ceremonial title. In October 2022, Xi was reappointed in even more significant leadership positions -head of the Chinese Communist Party and the military -for another five years.

Xi Jinping is "exceptionally ambitious," confident and focused, and has had his "eye on the prize" from early adulthood. Unlike many youth who "made up for lost time by having fun" after the Cultural Revolution, Xi chose to survive by becoming "redder than the red." He joined the Party and began mapping out a career plan that would take him to the top of the system. Xi is supremely pragmatic and a realist, driven not by ideology but by a combination of ambition and "self-protection." Xi was reserved and detached and "difficult to read". He had a "strong mind" and understood power, but "from day one, never showed his hand."

Xi Jinping did not talk about women and movies and did not drink or do drugs. Xi was considered of only average intelligence, and women thought Xi was "boring." Most people never felt completely relaxed around Xi, who seemed extremely "driven." Nevertheless, despite Xi's lack of popularity in the conventional sense and his "cold and calculating" demeanor in the early years, Xi was "not cold-hearted." He was still considered a "good guy" in other ways. Xi was outwardly friendly, "always knew the answers" to questions, and would "always take care of you." Xi's later popularity must stem in part from Xi's being "generous and loyal." Xi also does not care at all about money and is not corrupt. Xi can afford to be incorruptible, the professor wryly noted, given that he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

Xi is a true "elitist" at heart, believing that rule by a dedicated and committed Communist Party leadership is the key to enduring social stability and national strength. The most permanent influences shaping Xi's worldview were his "princeling" pedigree and formative years growing up with families of first-generation CCP revolutionaries in Beijing's exclusive residential compounds. Xi has a genuine sense of "entitlement," believing that members of his generation are the "legitimate heirs" to the revolutionary achievements of their parents and therefore "deserve to rule China."

Xi is not corrupt and does not care about money, but could be "corrupted by power". Xi knows how very corrupt China is and is repulsed by the all-encompassing commercialization of Chinese society, with its attendant nouveau riche, official corruption, loss of values, dignity, and self-respect, and such "moral evils" as drugs and prostitution. Xi at one point early in his career was quite taken with Buddhist mysticism, displaying a fascination with (and knowledge of) Buddhist martial arts and mystical powers said to aid health. Xi is very familiar with the West, including the United States. He also understands Taiwan and the Taiwan people from his long tenure as an official in Fujian Province.

Xi served for many years in Fujian province, becoming Governor in 2000, then moving to Zhejiang province in 2002 to be Party Secretary, and then to Shanghai as Party Secretary in 2007. He was elevated to the Politburo Standing Committee at the 17th National CCP Congress in October 2007 and was appointed Vice President at the National People's Congress in March 2008.

On 15 November 2012 it was announced that Xi Jinping had succeeded Hu Jintao, taking over his top positions as head of the Communist Party and the Party’s powerful Central Military Commission. Appointment as President and chair of the state Central Military Commission would follow at the National Party Congress in March 2013. Xi Jinping is representative of the Princeling Faction - children of senior party leaders, currently has the upper hand.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping was appointed Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The Fifth Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee announced in a communique at the close of the four-day meeting 18 October 2010 that the CMC was augmented to include Xi as a Vice-Chairman. While Mr. Xi's appointment will have little immediate effect on Xi's power, as Hu Jiantao and his top generals are expected to remain in control of the nations military, Hu is likely to retire in late 2012 and it is largely suspected that Mr. Xi will take China's top job then. Where Hu Jiantao's appointment to General Secretary of the CPC was largely due to the powerful Deng Xiaopeng with minimal input from the then current General Secretary Jiang Zemin, Mr. Xi's appointment came at the strong suggestion of the current General Secretary, Hu Jiantao.

Xi Jinping emerged as a compromise choice for CCP General Secretary, due both to his popularity with Party Elders and prominent members of the Shanghai Faction, as well as to his acceptability to the Hu-Wen leadership team and their supporters.

At the 18h Central Committee’s 6th Plenary Session in October 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping was named the “core” leader of the party. Only two people have been given this title up until now: Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. Since taking top office in 2012, Xi had purged the Party of Jiang’s elements, and consolidating power. Xi’s formal assumption of status as paramount leader sent a message that the political strength of the previous “core” leader, former Party boss Jiang Zemin, was in eclipse. The Communist Party of China will hold its quinquennial congress in the autumn of 2017, and will present General Secretary (concurrently president) Xi Jinping with a further opportunity to consolidate power.

Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang were re-elected at the 13th National People’s Congress, to be held starting 05 March 2018. China confirmed new members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the top decision-making body of the Communist Party, at the 19th National Party Congress in the autumn of 2017.

Delegates of the National People's Congress elect the Chinese president, vice president, and chair of the State Central Military Commission on March 17. They confirm the nomination for the premier, as well as vice chairs of the State Central Military Commission on March 18. They also elect the chair of the National Supervision Commission on the same day.

In advance of these elections, Xi Jinping could not afford to be seen as backing down in the face of American pressure. No one expected the nationalistic strongman leader to back down on questions of sovereignty. China will never compromise on its sovereignty, President Xi Jinping said, in his speech to mark the 95th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on 01 July 2016. "No foreign country... should expect us to swallow the bitter pill of harm to our national sovereignty, security or development interests." China "will not stir up trouble, but is also not afraid of trouble", he added.

“China is more likely to let the whole relationship with the United States deteriorate in order to show its resolve on the Taiwan issue,” Jessica Chen Weiss, an expert on Chinese foreign policy at Cornell University, said in December 2016.

Jayadeva Ranade noted that Xi Jinping’s attempt to demonstrate that he will have a visibly different style of leadership came within a month of his being appointed General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chairman of the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC) by the 18th Party Congress, which was held in Beijing from November 8-14, 2012.

President Xi Jinping is supreme on the Standing Committee, which consists of the seven top leaders of the Chinese Communist Party. President Xi Jinping's one-man leadership style means that he appears to make the big decisions on national security — to challenge American primacy in the Asia-Pacific region and establish a China-centric alternative — without consultation with other senior leaders.

With power concentrated in one man’s hands, foreign policy is decided by his strategic personality and his political beliefs. Xi's predecessors, Jiang Zemin [1993-2003] and Hu Jintao [2003-2013], made decisions collectively with the Standing Committee. Xi's use of Maoist imagery, rhetoric and strategy sets him apart from his two predecessors — who both emphasized collective leadership.

Elizabeth C. Economy notes that "Xi has moved quickly to amass political power and to become, within the Chinese leadership, not first among equals but simply first.... Unlike previous presidents, who have let their premiers act as the state’s authority on the economy, Xi has assumed that role for himself. He has also taken a highly personal command of the Chinese military..."

"President Xi Jinping has made a lot of enemies at the helm of China’s Communist Party, and they could use the slightest misstep ... as an opportunity for payback. Analysts say Xi’s position in the opaque politics of the ruling party is more precarious than it seems from the outside... the legacy of his sharp-elbowed rise to the top could make matters even more problematic"

Chinese President Xi Jinping was adorned with the new title of “commander in chief” of the country’s Joint Operations Command Center, and with it assumed a more prominent role in directing the Chinese military, state-run media reported April 21, 2016. As well as being president, Xi is already the Central Military Commission chairman. He is also general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and chair of the recently created National Security Council.

A newly composed patriotic song lauding Chinese President Xi Jinping is taking to the airwaves in China, as state media published a lengthy article painting the country's "unrivaled helmsman" in rosy tones 17 November 2017.

The song, "To Follow You is to Follow the Sun", is strongly reminiscent of revolutionary songs praising late supreme leader Mao Zedong, of whom choirs of patriotic singers once sang that he was "the reddest sun burning in all our hearts." Another Mao-era ditty proclaimed that "there is a golden sun in Beijing, that shines all over the earth," while the ruling Chinese Communist Party's anthem "The East is Red," contains the lines: "The east is red; the sun is rising. Mao Zedong has appeared in China."

The new hymn to Xi, accompanied by patriotic images of Chinese flag ceremonies and saluting soldiers, proclaims that his "deep and genuine love shines across the earth, making the rivers flow and the ships sail." Like many of the Mao-era songs, the lyrics impute almost supernatural significance to Xi, whose brand of "New Era" political thought was enshrined last month into the ruling party's founding document. "The sweat of your brow ... waters the earth, giving us our harvest of grains," the lyrics say. "Your ideology illuminates everything, making the people hard-working and prosperous."

"To follow you is to follow the sun .. the people cry out in welcome and sing of the Chinese dream," runs the chorus.

General secretary Xi Jinping on 04 September 2020 warned that the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will never allow anyone, at home or overseas, to try to change China's "direction of progress." In a speech outlining five "Never Allows," Xi said: "The Chinese people will never allow any individual or any force to impose their will on China through bullying, change China's direction of progress, or obstruct the Chinese people's efforts to create a better life." He said the five red lines, which include allowing anyone to "distort" the official line on China's history, or to try to derail the current system of government, were part of a "national rejuvenation" program, which requires the ruling party to remain in power. In language reminiscent of a draconian national security law recently imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong, which criminalizes anyone anywhere in the world who tries to paint a negative picture of the Hong Kong or Chinese governments to the city's seven million residents, Xi also warned against anyone trying to make a distinction between the Chinese people and the CCP.

The Chinese military was urged to modernize military theories, organizations, personnel and weapons and equipment in order to reach its centennial goal by 2027 set by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.The report of the 15th National Congress of the Communist Party of China first proposed "two centenary goals" for the first time: by the one hundred years of the founding of the party, the national economy will be more developed and various systems will be more perfect; by the middle of the next century, the new China will be established for one hundred years. At that time, China will basically realize modernization and build a prosperous, strong, democratic and civilized socialist country. The report of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China further clarified that in the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, a moderately prosperous society will be built, and a prosperous, democratic, civilized and harmonious modern socialist country will be built in the 100th anniversary of the founding of New China.

Xi was born in 1953, and will be age 74 by 2027. It might be imagined that he planned to complete his program by that time, including re-unification with Taiwan, and settling territorial disputes with India and Japan.

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Page last modified: 10-03-2023 13:52:39 ZULU