Xi Takes a Highly Choreographed Curtain Call

Xi Takes a Highly Choreographed Curtain Call
Chinese President Xi Jinping walks to the podium to deliver a speech at the closing ceremony for China’s National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 13, 2023 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

BEIJING—As was widely expected, China’s rubber-stamp parliament reappointed Xi Jinping for an unprecedented third term as president of the People’s Republic of China on Friday. Xi also retained his position as the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, meaning he also still commands the armed forces.

Neither of these developments were a surprise. After all, there were no other candidates in the running. Xi’s real achievement came last October: retaining the all-important position of general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP. He first obtained that title in 2012. Since then, he has consolidated power by eliminating rivals, promoting allies and encouraging a cult of personality of a kind that China hasn’t seen in generations.

This year’s Lianghui—or Two Sessions, referring to the gatherings of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, or CPPCC, and the National People’s Congress, or NPC—was another glimpse into just how successfully he has managed to tighten his grip on power.

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