Ahead of China’s ruling Communist Party amending its Constitution on October 22, 2022, China’s President Xi Jinping has been hailed by the State media as a “people’s leader”, an honorific not used since the days of Mao Zedong.
While Chairman Mao was called the “great helmsman” or great leader (weida lingxiu), Mr. Xi has been referred to in some Party media outlets as the “people’s leader” (renmin lingxiu).
State broadcaster China Central Television on Thursday, during the on-going Party Congress, described Mr. Xi as “the core of the party, the people’s leader, and the commander-in-chief of the army” as well as “a great Marxist statesman”. Mr. Xi was on Thursday and Friday also described using the same phrase “Marxist statesman with a global vision” by the Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu and Vice Environment Minister Zhai Qing.
The flood of new honorifics for Mr. Xi has brought focus to Saturday’s Constitutional amendment, which is expected to reflect a further centralisation of both Mr. Xi’s “core” status – which was, along with his eponymous ideology called “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, added to the constitution at the previous 19th Congress in 2017, which marked the start of Mr. Xi’s second term. Mr. Xi was the first leader since Mao to have his eponymous ideology added to the Constitution while in office.
“The amendment to the Constitution will incorporate the major theoretical views and strategic thinking,” Congress spokesperson Sun Yeli said. “The amendment will fully embody the latest achievements in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and to the needs of the times. It will also enshrine the new ideas, thoughts and strategies on national governance that the CPC Central Committee has set forth since the 19th CPC National Congress.”
Mr. Xi in 2018 abolished the two-term limit for the post of President, and is set to begin an unprecedented third-term once the Congress concludes on Saturday and chooses the new Central Committee, which will meet on Sunday and announce the new members likely to join Mr. Xi on the next Politburo Standing Committee.
The next Politburo Standing Committee is likely to include at least three new allies of Mr. Xi, while the new Central Military Commission, which Mr. Xi heads, will also induct younger Generals and likely reaffirm his control over the military.