China’s Xi tightens his grip on power and wins an unprecedented third term – POLITICO

Chinese leader Xi Jinping won an unprecedented third term as general secretary of the Communist Party of China on Sunday, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

The appointment comes after a week-long party convention in which the 69-year-old leader tightened his grip on the country, making him possibly the most powerful individual in the world, according to some analysts. And that paves the way for him to secure another five-year term as the country’s president in the annual legislative session in March and to continue his line of confrontation with the West.

Beijing has become increasingly aggressive on the military and economic fronts while moving closer to a warmongering Russia.

At 69, Xi has passed the informal retirement age of 68 and may be able to rule for life. In 2018, Xi removed the two-term presidential limit, allowing him to rule indefinitely.

In a dramatic scene Saturday at the highly choreographed meeting, former Chinese President Hu Jintao was unexpectedly escorted out of the closing ceremony of the Communist Party Congress, in what was seen by some as a sign of the deterrent health of Hu and by others as a symbolic sign. scene of Xi’s enhanced powers.

Xi also retained his title as army chief.

He has appointed officials to the party’s Politburo Standing Committee, China’s top governing body, who analysts say are his proteges and allies. Among them, they mention for example Wang Huning, described as the ideologue who shaped Xi’s nationalist views; Cai Qi, whose ties to Xi go back more than two decades; and Ding Xuexiang, a close aide to Xi who often travels with the president.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a congratulatory message to Xi on his third term, the Kremlin said. Putin told the Chinese president he looked forward to further developing the « comprehensive relationship and strategic alliance between our two states. »

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is planning a trip to China next month and is expected to be the first Western leader to hail Xi as a newly reappointed leader. EU leaders at a meeting on Friday discussed the bloc’s line on China.

While Scholz insisted that the EU must remain a beacon of global trade, even with China, others like outgoing Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said many leaders during the discussion stressed that » we must not repeat the fact that we have been indifferent, indulgent, superficial in our relations with Russia.

And they also pointed out that « those that look like commercial links … are part of a general direction of the Chinese system, so they should be treated as such, » Draghi added.

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