President Xi Jinping was on Thursday anointed as the “core” leader of China’s ruling Communist Party, conferring on him a status similar to that of party founder ‘Chairman’ Mao Zedong and allowing him to further tighten his grip on the party, military and government.
At the same time, a key meeting of the Communist Party of China (CPC) decided to carry on with the collective leadership system, introduced in 1981 to ensure that no individual dominated the party leadership.
A communique issued by top CPC leaders after a four-day close-door meeting of 370 top leaders here called on all its members to “closely unite around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core”, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
63-year-old Xi also heads the party as general-secretary of the CPC, and the military besides the presidency. The move to make Xi the “core” leader gives him greater influence over the looming top reshuffle of the party late next year, analysts say.
But contrary to the speculation that the party may dispense with the over three-decade rule stipulating collective leadership, the plenum stressed the importance of adherence to the collective leadership system of CPC.
“They discussed the matter at the sixth plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, calling for a combination of collective leadership with individual responsibility,” the report said.
Speculation was rife earlier that it may be amended. Xi currently heads a seven-member Standing Committee of the party which virtually rules China.
The seven members looking after various aspects of governance included Premier Li Kiang. The Standing Committee embodies collective leadership in CPC parlance.
Since taking over as the leader of the party in November 2012 and as President and chief of the military in 2013, Xi has been regarded as the most powerful leader after Mao wielding enormous powers, thus reducing the importance of the Standing Committee.
As an important part of the CPC’s fundamental organisation principle of democratic centralism, the collective leadership system “must always be followed and should not be violated by any organisation or individual under any circumstance or for any reason,” the communique said. Party committees at various levels must adhere to the system, it said.
The communique called on leading officials to enhance their understanding of the overall situation and relevant responsibilities, and to resolutely enforce decisions made by party organisations.
The plenum also approved two documents on the discipline of the party including the norms of political life within the party under the new situation and a regulation on intra-party supervision, Xinhua quoted a communique as saying.
The meeting also said CPC would resolutely address election malpractice, putting an end to the buying and selling of official posts or vote rigging.