The Communist Party of China's new Politburo Standing Committee, the nation's top decision-making body (L-R) Han Zheng, Wang Huning, Li Zhanshu, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, Wang Yang, Zhao Leji meet the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on October 25, 2017.
China on October 25 unveiled its new ruling council with President Xi Jinping firmly at the helm after stamping his authority on the country by engraving his name on the Communist Party's constitution. / AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO        (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
Xi Jinping cements grip on power
01:33 - Source: CNN

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Key political meeting concludes in Beijing, putting Xi on par with Mao

Analyst: Move means Xi Jinping can be "emperor for life"

Beijing CNN  — 

China has elevated the stature of President Xi Jinping and cemented his grip on power by including his name and political ideology in the Communist Party constitution.

At the end of a pivotal twice-a-decade meeting, party delegates voted unanimously Tuesday to make “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” a guiding principle for the party.

The move puts Xi on par with Chairman Mao Zedong who founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949 and paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, who oversaw China’s opening up to the world.

Deng Xiaoping Theory was added to the constitution six months after his death in February 1997. China’s previous two presidents, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, haven’t had their names enshrined in the constitution in this way.

What is Xi's new era?

  • Socialism with Chinese Characteristics has long been used to describe how Marxism has been adapted for China. The term was closely associated with Deng Xiaoping as a way to promote economic development.
  • However, there’s little agreement on what Xi’s new spin means.
  • Willy Lam, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, says domestically it’s about tightening Communist Party control over all aspects of Chinese life in the internet age.
  • Globally, it’s about making sure China becomes a superpower that gets to make the rules.

    “Xi Jinping now has an institutional guarantee of support. He can be emperor for life – staying in power as long as his health allows,” said Willy Lam, an adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Center for China Studies.

    Xi looks set to emerge from the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China stronger than ever, both domestically and on the international stage.

    At home, Xi has taken down senior leaders in his anti-corruption drive, launched an unprecedented crackdown on free speech, and radically overhauled the two-million strong People’s Liberation Army, the world’s largest fighting force.

    Globally, the world will now likely see China continue to step into a global leadership vacuum as the US turns inward under President Donald Trump.

    As Xi presided over the closing session in the Great Hall of the People, more than 2,200 delegates raised their hands in unison to approve the party charter amendments, with staffers announcing “meiyou” (“none”) to indicate the lack of dissenting or abstaining votes.

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    Xi Jinping's rise to power (2017)
    01:53 - Source: CNN

    Sweeping vision