Xi Jinping was elected as President of China for a third consecutive term cementing his position as the most influential national leader since founder Mao Zedong. He also continued as the general secretary of the ruling Communist Party again tilting China decisively back to one-man rule after decades of power sharing among its elites.
His anointment came after a week-long Congress of 2,300 hand-picked party delegates during which they endorsed Xi’s “core position” in the leadership and approved a sweeping reshuffle that saw former rivals step down.
The 20th Congress elected the new Central Committee of around 200 senior party officials, who then gathered on Sunday to elect Xi and the other members of Standing Committee — the apex of Chinese political power.
Some of Xi’s closest allies were announced in the seven-man committee.
On Saturday, the Chinese president addressed the 20th Congress of the Communist Party, and urged citizens to put the country’s interests first.
“Dare to struggle, dare to win, bury your heads and work hard. Be determined to keep forging ahead,” he said. “We must be ready to withstand high winds, choppy waters and even dangerous storms. Confronted with drastic changes in the international landscape, especially external attempts to blackmail, contain, (and) blockade… China, we have put our national interests first.”
Born in 1953 in Beijing, Xi is the son of revolutionary veteran Xi Zhongxun, a former vice premier and one of the Communist Party’s founding fathers. Considered a ‘princeling’ — a child of elite senior officials — his family’s fortune took a dramatic turn in 1962 when his father was imprisoned.
After several unsuccessful attempts, Xi was finally accepted into the Communist Party in 1974 and slowly started making it to the top. He was put in charge of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics which helped China symbolise itself with growing power and propelled Xi up the party ranks reaching the top decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee, and in 2012 he was picked as China’s President.