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China’s president is now among ‘legends’ in Chinese history; here’s what it means

POSTED October 25, 2017 9:19 a.m.
China President Xi Jinping just earned a place in his country’s pantheon of leaders.

As The Washington Post reported, China’s Community Party wrote Xi’s name into the country’s constitution, something that elevates his status to that of former "legendary" leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

The Community Party also enshrined Xi’s political thought — called “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in a New Era” — into the constitution.

What does it mean?: The move comes at the beginning of Xi’s second five-year term. The move likely means an extended stay of power for Xi, who will now be “the most powerful Chinese leader in decades, with ambitions to tighten party control over society and make his country a superpower on the world stage,” according to The Washington Post.

How often does this happen?: Not often. According to Quartz, Communist leaders will add theories and thoughts to the constitution, but won't attach any names. Only Mao and Deng Xiapoing have their names attached to a thought or theory in the constitution.

China can just change its constitution?: This move solely applies to the Communist Party’s constitution, and not the country’s national constitution, The New York Times reported. The party’s constituion offers rules for members to follow and “lays out the party’s vision of its own history, and the contributions of current and past leaders to that heritage," according to the Times.

So what is Xi's thought and vision for future?: On Oct. 18, Xi spoke for three hours about his “broad concept” to the National Congress of the Chinese Community Party.

He declared China a global power, hoping the country will “take center stage in the world,” CNN reported.

Xi spoke about China’s next set of challenges, including striking the right balance between an “inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life,” according to Quartz.

This is a different way of life for the country, which used to focus on the debate between “the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and backward social production," Xi reportedly said.

According to The New York Times, the phrase “new era” is key here, meaning that Xi will lead China for the next few years to come as he looks to build the country’s military, domestic control and profile on the international stage.

What does this mean for China?: As the Times reported, Xi’s ideas for the future “will now permeate all party indoctrination in schools, the media and government agencies. With the conclusion of the congress, the party and the Chinese news media will begin a national drive to promote its decisions, and especially the elevation of Mr. Xi.”

What do the people think?: Sun Yongkang, a 24-year-old photographer in Beijing, told CNN that he supports the new era.

"I really like the key word New Era,” he said. “President Xi is a trailblazer, he opens up a new model for China's development."

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