Xi Jinping has been consecrated as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong after a new body of political thought carrying his name was added to the Communist party’s constitution. Since the Communist party of China was founded in 1921, only one leader, Mao himself, has been honoured in such a way while still alive, in his case with a political philosophy called Mao Zedong Thought Deng Xiaoping, the architect of China’s economic opening, also boasts a school of eponymous ideology in the party charter, Deng Xiaoping Theory, but that was included only after his death in 1997.

Since Deng Xiaoping came to power in the late 1970s, the party has been extolling the virtues of “collective leadership”
in which responsibilities are shared rather than concentrated in the hands of few. . "Deng Xiaoping, who succeeded Mao, sought to avoid the kind of single-handed power Mao used to drag China through a brutal Cultural Revolution. He launched an era of collective leadership that has lasted a quarter century — until, perhaps, now "The party has shifted away from an institutionalized power-transition process and vested more power into this one person.

 19th CPC Central Committee
At a closing ceremony in the Mao-era Great Hall of the People it was announced that Xi’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era had been written into the party charter .“The congress unanimously agrees that Xi Jinping Thought … shall constitute [one of] the guides to action of the party in the party constitution,” a party resolution stated.

Xi Jinping “Thought”
 confirmed the rare levels of power and prestige enjoyed by its creator. “It means Xi is effectively unassailable … If you challenge Xi, you are challenging the party – and you never want to be against the party.” If you tower above the party, then it is very difficult for anyone below you to decide they don’t want to implement your commands

Standing Committee
The Standing Committee of the Central Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China, currently has seven members. The method by which membership is determined has evolved over time. Policy views of ambitious aspirants are routinely concealed. Various theories have been proposed, mostly by academic outside of mainland China, to discern, though in practice due to its opaque operations, faction membership has never been a hard-and-fast rule.

(a)   During the Cultural Revolution, the PSC had little power ,Mao himself selected and expelled members.
(b)  After taking power in 1978, one of the goals of Deng Xiaoping was to strengthen the power of the party and institutionalize bodies such as the Politburo and its Standing Committee. consultations among party elders on the Central Advisory Commission determined membership
(c)   In 1980s, the PSC was restored as the party's supreme decision making body. The operation of the Standing Committee has remained largely stable since Tiananmen in 1989
(d)   Since the 1990s, Politburo membership has been determined by deliberations and straw polls by incumbent and retired members of both the Politburo and the Standing Committee
(e)  At the 18th Party Congress held in 2012, membership of the PSC was yet again reduced to seven members by Xi Jinping.

Contemporary selection method

(a)        Straw Polls
The current and former Politburo members conduct several rounds of deliberations interspersed with a series of straw polls to determine their support for the candidacy of new Politburo and PSC members.
(b)        Seniority also played an important role. It was established convention that a member of the PSC must have served for at least one term on the Politburo prior to entry to the PSC.

qi-shang, ba-xia

Since the 16th Party Congress in 2002 age is also key factor , PSC members who were 68 or older at the time of a Party Congress have retired without exception. This has been known as the rule of qi-shang, ba-xia
"seven up, eight down"),
However, these "rule" had been broken several times by those destined for party leader or the premiership, most notably with Zhu Rongji and Hu Jintao in  1992, and Li Keqiang and Xi Jinping in 2007. Jiang Zemin was also in the middle of serving out his first term on the Politburo before he was suddenly made General Secretary and thus a member of the PSC in 1989.

Thought  Vs Theory
Four former top Chinese leaders have had their ideologies included in the constitution: "Mao Zedong Thought," "Deng Xiaoping Theory," Jiang Zemin's "Three Represents" and Hu Jintao's "Scientific Outlook on Development"
Only Mao and Deng had their names attached to their ideologies. Furthermore, the status of a "thought" is higher than that of a "theory," which means that "

Xi Jinping Thought" enjoys a higher elevation than "Deng Xiaoping Theory

Some see the historic decision to enshrine Xi’s concept as a clear hint that he will seek to remain in power beyond the end of his second - and supposedly last - five-year term, in 2022.

 Two-Term Limit
On 25 Feb 2018 at the second plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee the document was approved and   released. According to the document  the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee's suggested to amend some parts of the Constitution, it has been added to the Constitution that the CPC leadership is the most substantive feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics; the second half of Article 79 that stipulates "The term of office of the President and Vice-President of the People's Republic of China is the same as that of the National People's Congress, and they shall serve no more than two consecutive terms" will be deleted.
The politburo standing committee includes no obvious successor ,that would represent further proof that Xi plans to rule at least until 2027 and possibly beyond If no clear successor emerged, however, it would fuel fears that Xi was “going for broke, all-out to be a dictator” and planned to remain in power indefinitely. Whether Xi was attempting “a real dictatorial play”
            The suggestion made at the second plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee again demonstrated the CPC's leadership in law making. Since the Constitution was enacted in 1982, the CPC Central Committee has made five amendments to make the fundamental law more relevant and help in its implementation. Every time China deliberates on reforms and key decisions, effect on public opinion is worth pondering. Misinformation and external forces' meddling will affect public opinion in China.
* Constitutional    Amendments*
          The Constitution of the People's Republic of China : 中华人民共和国宪法;  Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó Xiànfǎ) is nominally the supreme law within the People's Republic of China. The People's Republic of China enacted its first Constitution in 1954. In 1982, the fifth National People's Congress adopted the present Constitution, which underwent four amendments in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2004 till last year.
          The amendments to the Constitution "must be proposed by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress or by more than one-fifth of the deputies to the National People's Congress and adopted by a vote of more than two-thirds of all the deputies to the Congress.

Xi Plans to Rule at Least Until 2027 & Possibly Beyond
          The Chinese Communist Party's twice-a-decade national congress commonly discusses the plans and visions for the upcoming five years. This time was different. Chinese President Xi Jinping had two dates in mind as he addressed the party members from the podium on 18 Oct in a three-and-a-half-hour opening speech. Those dates were 2035 and 2049.
The year 2049 is the 100th anniversary of the People's Republic of China's founding. Xi's two-stage blueprint first aims to realize socialist modernization by 2035 and then turn China into a fully developed nation -- a global leader on par with the U.S. -- by 2049.

Absolute Leadership
             At the core of the Central Committee, Xi is not only jettisoning long-established convention; he is dismantling the very system of collective rule. Chinese President Xi Jinping ripped up decades of precedence, unveiling a new leadership team with no apparent successor and raising the possibility he may seek to retain his grip on power.

           The debut occurred in theatrical fashion at the end of a twice-a-decade party congress with a room full of sweaty journalists and an announcer. It follows the decision to elevate Xi to the level of MaoTse-tung, the nation's founder, by enshrining "Xi Jinping Thought" into the Communist Party constitution. Chinese Presidents are allotted two five-year terms, so Xi would need to change the constitution to keep that position. But nothing prevents him from staying on as Communist Party chief or Central Military Commission chairman. Only one woman selected for the Politburo, with no apparent successor because of the age factor the seven members standing Committee, making a lame duck "It's the 'one person has the final say' situation,
 *The Passage of Power

               Xi is prepared to extend his power or influence beyond 2022 possibly beyond 2027. This step — along with the lack of a clear heir — gives Xi even greater influence over the country's future and the sweeping, definitive vision he sees for it. The new members of Standing Committee are all longtime politicians, with knowledge of issues such as foreign trade and party ideology. But none is young enough to succeed Xi in five years when his decade tenure ends. . "Five years down the road it might be a little bit different."

             Since becoming military chief and general secretary of the Communist Party in November 2012 and President in March 2013, Xi has been sending a clear message that the country is not just ruled by a faceless party—it is ruled by a man. He has even acquired a nickname: “Xi Dada”, or Uncle Xi, as internet users and sometimes even the official media call him.

        These changes in style hint at a profound shift in the nature of Chinese politics. Even as he plays to the public gallery, Xi is tightening his grip on power among the elite. He has added a new layer of authority at the top, taken command of numerous committees, and now personally supervises overall government reform, finance, the overhaul of the armed forces and cyber-security. Always small, the number of decision-makers is shrinking further
         Xi has been playing up his disdain for the ostentation and extravagance that are common, and much-resented, accoutrements of power in China .More than 200,000    high-ranking have been rounded up by party investigators (and some driven to suicide) and targeted for offences in an unprecedented and historical manner ever since the party came to power in 1949, discarding an unwritten party rule that former and serving highest ranking are immune from prosecution.
Cultural Revolution
         Xi’s bid for popular acclaim, however, does not involve any attempt to shed the secrecy that surrounds the doings of the party elite. He has tightened controls on online social, but there are many Chinese who want changes that he appears reluctant to make:  least a bigger say in the running of their local governments and the protection of their communities.
Were Xi to stay in office beyond the anticipated decade, he would be the first leader to do so since Deng Xiaoping. According to unwritten leadership rules introduced in the 1990s to ensure orderly power transitions, the party’s general secretary should serve for no more than 10 years.
. China is at the point, like in the Cultural Revolution, where mangoes that Mao touched  were worshipped. But we are certainly seeing a movement towards a new type of politics … one that is borrowing heavily from [the Mao era].”
 Mao launched the so-called Cultural Revolution (known in full as the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution) in August 1966, Red Guards and attacked and harassed members of China’s elderly and intellectual population With different factions of the Red Guard movement battling for dominance, many Chinese cities reached the brink of anarchy by September 1967 Amid the chaos, the Chinese economy plummeted, with industrial production for 1968 dropping 12% below that of 1966. Some 1.5 million people were killed during the Cultural Revolution, and millions of others suffered imprisonment, seizure of property, torture or general humiliation system he had created would eventually produce a result opposite to what he intended

The Perils of Power
            Over the past two decades, a trinity of leadership consisting of the CPC Central Committee general secretary, President of the nation and chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission has taken shape and proven to be effective. To remove the two-term limit of the Chinese President have grabbed widespread attention and challenged by some who are supported and instigated by overseas forces. This is matter of growing concern, it is imperative on the part of Indian Sinologists to cautiously monitor each and every step
          "No organization or individual has the privilege to overstep the Constitution or the law.  Embarking on a journey to fully build a modern socialist China and realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.The new leaders must also confront an economy held up by corporate debt, pressure over North Korea, and neighbors irked by China's increasingly assertive territorial claims. But at the moment the response to his display of power is a drearily familiar one: terrified local officials are lying low, afraid to take the initiative with reforms for fear their behaviour is misconstrued .In the years ahead, as the economy slows, China’s new middle class is likely to get more restless. By painting himself as the main man, Xi will have no one else to blame if things go wrong.

Col Ravi Prakash Dahiya (Retired) 
Co Founder - Bharat First

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