Xi Jinping Has Secured A Precedent-Breaking Third Term As President Of China On Friday During A Parliamentary Session In Which He Tightened His Control Of The World's Second-Largest Economy.
12:06 PM WAT, Fri March 10, 2023
Chinese politician, Xi Jinping, has been handed a third term as Chinese president.
Xi was re-appointed as head of the country’s Central Military Commission in a unanimous vote by delegates, at a cavernous state building on the edge of Tiananmen Square, Beijing's Great Hall of the People, as it was adorned with crimson carpets and banners.
A digital monitor on the edge of the stage proclaimed the final tally of 2,952 votes that was cast in favour of giving Xi another term in office.
The announcement was followed by delegates' fervent declarations of allegiance to the Chinese constitution, in a demonstration of loyalty and unanimity.
Xi therefore held up his right fist and placed his left hand on a red, leather-bound copy of China's constitution, as he vowed to build a prosperous, strong, democratic, civilised, harmonious and great modern socialist country.
His appointment by China's rubber-stamp parliament comes after Xi locked in another five years as head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) last year.
He has taken China on a more authoritarian path since assuming control a decade ago, and he extends his tenure for another five-year term amid increasingly adversarial relations with the U.S. and its allies over Taiwan, Beijing's backing of Russia, trade and human rights.
Domestically, China faces a challenging recovery from three years of Xi's zero-COVID policy, fragile confidence among consumers and businesses and weak demand for China's exports.
Xi's re-election is the culmination of a remarkable rise in which he has gone from being a little-known party apparatchik to the leader of a rising global power.
His coronation sets him up to become communist China's longest-serving president, and means Xi could rule well into his seventies if no challenger emerges.
Xi's bold ambitions for the country have translated into a domineering leadership style, with decisions reinforced by loyalists that have risen to top government positions during his decade at the helm.
And having taken power during a time when the CCP's sway seemed to be wavering, he has worked hard to reverse trends that had threatened to weaken its centrality to Chinese society.
"The relentless Xi Jinping agenda of asserting party control over everything that moves is alive and well," said Kevin Rudd, a former Australian prime minister and an expert on China, during a recent Asia Society forum.
"They've got two sets of really conflicting tensions: how to reenergise growth in the economy, and how to maintain ideological control over the private sector," he added.