Xi Jinping obtained his third term in China and continues to exercise his iron control over the country’s politics

Xi Jinping President

The Chinese regime of Xi Jinping consolidated its power on Friday after the National People’s Assembly (ANP) appointed him for a third five-year term (2023-2028) unprecedented among his predecessors.

The PNA plenum ratified the permanence of Xi, also general secretary of the ruling Communist Party (CPC), after the body approved in 2018 a constitutional amendment that eliminated the limit of two consecutive five-year terms for Chinese presidents.

The result of the vote by the deputies, announced shortly before 11:00 local time, was final: 2,952 votes in favor, zero against, and no abstentions.

It was not an unexpected result given that the parliament is in practice subjugated by the Communist Party (PCCh), which in October already re-elected him for another five years as secretary general and head of the Army, the two most powerful positions in the country.

The last few months have been difficult for the Chinese regime, after large demonstrations at the end of November against its “zero COVID” policy and a wave of deaths after abandoning this strategy in December.

These issues, unsurprisingly, were avoided during the annual session of Parliament, a carefully choreographed event in which Xi’s ally Li Qiang is due to replace Li Keqiang as prime minister.

The National People’s Congress (NPC) meeting in Beijing must also formally elect a new vice president to replace Wang Qishan.

The NPC annual session was also conducive to announcing a modest growth target of “around 5%” in 2023 and an increase in the military budget.

Xi Jinping‘s formal re-election as head of state heralds the rise of a once-little-public policymaker who has become the most powerful Chinese leader in decades.

For decades, the People’s Republic of China, scalded by political chaos and personality cult during the reign of its leader and founder Mao Zedong (1949-1976), promoted a more collegial system of government in the upper echelons of power.

Under this model, Xi’s predecessors (Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao) left the presidency after ten years in office.

But Xi put an end to this rule by abolishing the constitutional two-term presidential term limit in 2018, while fueling a budding personality cult.

Xi Jinping will thus become the leader with the longest years in power in the recent history of the Asian giant.

He could even aspire to another five years as president if no credible successor emerges at this time.

But the world’s second-largest economy faces numerous challenges ahead: slowing growth, falling birth rates, difficulties in the real estate sector or a weighed-down international image.

Relations with the United States are at their lowest point in decades, with multiple disputes ranging from the status of Taiwan to the treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority and technological rivalry.

Xi this week denounced the “policy of containment, encirclement and suppression against China” applied by the “Western countries led by the United States” that “has brought unprecedented severe challenges to the development” of the country.