China’s Communist Party elevates Xi to ‘core’ leader, same status as Mao

Beijing, Oct 27 (IANS) The Communist Party of China on Thursday accorded President Xi Jinping the title of “core” leader, thereby equating his power to that of Chinese icons like Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

The decision was included in a communique released after the sixth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, which was held from Monday to Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The meeting hailed the current-governance mode of the Party, lauding the work undertaken by the CPC Central Committee with Xi as the core and the achievements since the 18th CPC National Congress, as these efforts had improved the intra-Party political environment.

Xi’s elevation also further increases his clout ahead of next year’s 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China, a gathering in which, according to the communique, important leadership changes are to take place, EFE news reported.

In total, five of the seven members of the party’s Politburo Standing Committee, all but Xi and Premier Li Keqiang — are to be replaced, and the struggle over who will occupy those seats is believed to be now under way, with Xi attempting to promote his closest allies to the detriment of other factions.

The idea of naming Xi as a core leader had sprung up around the beginning of the year, but it was not well received by members of the Standing Committee.

The concept of core leader was coined by Deng Xiaoping, who led China’s market opening in the 1980s, to denote those leaders who had achieved almost absolute authority, namely Mao Zedong, Jiang Zemin and Deng himself.

Besides Xi’s elevation, the plenary meeting also approved two documents to reinforce party discipline, marking the latest step in an anti-corruption drive that has been a hallmark of Xi’s tenure since coming to power in 2013 but which many consider to be a political weapon wielded against his enemies, EFE news added.

The documents dealt with the need for controlling and severely cracking down on corruption and creating a new atmosphere within the party.

Top officials, particularly the Politburo Standing Committee, must follow the rules and set an example for the rest, the communique read.