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Here's Xi Jinping's vision to make China great again
03:04 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has formally stepped into his norm-breaking third term ruling China with an iron grip on power, as he revealed a new leadership team stacked with loyal allies.

On Sunday, a day after the close of the five-yearly Communist Party Congress, Xi announced six men – Li Qiang, Zhao Leji, Wang Huning, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang and Li Xi – to stand alongside him as members of the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s top ruling body.

The lineup, filled with staunch Xi loyalists, made clear that Xi had not only broken with recent precedent to take on a third term at the helm of the party, but had also concentrated power at the very top of it to an extent unseen in decades.

Xi also revealed the full lineup of the 24-member Politburo, which for the first time in at least 25 years includes no women, underlining the dearth of female representation in the party’s top echelons.

The four new faces in the Politburo’s seven-member Standing Committee are all Xi’s long-time allies and proteges: Li Qiang, Cai Qi, Ding Xuexiang and Li Xi. The new lineup clears the path for him to rule for a third term with minimal internal discord – and underlines that affinity for Xi trumps all else in China’s current political landscape.

No room for moderates

The sweeping reshuffle of the Standing Committee came after the departure of key party leaders not in Xi’s inner circle – Premier Li Keqiang and Wang Yang, head of China’s top advisory body. Both have retired from the top ruling body despite being one year below the party’s unofficial retirement age of 68 and eligible to serve another term. Xi, at 69, is one year above that informal limit.

That change was made clear Saturday at the close of the Party Congress.

Events of the day were briefly interrupted by an unexpected scene when Xi’s immediate predecessor Hu Jintao, who is 79 and has been in frail health in recent years, was escorted out