BEIJING: China’s Communist Party on Saturday (Oct 22) unanimously approved a series of amendments to its constitution, further strengthening the control of Xi Jinping who now appears set for a historic third term in power.
The party constitution, or charter, is a document of ultimate authority by which all 96 million party members must abide, and amendments remain effective indefinitely.
Here’s a guide to what has – and hasn’t – changed.
XI’S “CORE POSITION”
China’s Communist Party endorsed Xi’s “core position” on the Party Central Committee – a group of about 200 senior officials – as well as his rarefied status “in the Party as a whole”.
All party members will have to “acquire a deep understanding” of Xi’s unassailable role and work to uphold it, the document says.
While the 69-year-old has long been referred to as the “core” of the party, the resolution uses the designation more often and in more reverent terms than the previous charter.
That may indicate a further consolidation of his untrammelled power at the top of the party and state.
NO “XI JINPING THOUGHT”
Many analysts were waiting to see whether the party would enshrine the term “Xi Jinping Thought” as its guiding doctrine, a move that would have placed Xi on a par with the likes of the country’s founding leader Mao Zedong.
The lengthier “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” was first woven into the charter in 2017, and argues that the party must take a commanding role in Chinese society while pushing further reform, national security and internal discipline.
The resolution Saturday referred to the ideology by its longer name, indicating that its status had not been significantly elevated.
However, it lauded the creed as “the Marxism of contemporary China and of the 21st century”.
It “embodies the best Chinese culture and ethos of this era”, the resolution said.
For the first time, the party’s charter will say explicitly that it opposes Taiwanese independence, according to the resolution.
The constitution will be changed to include “statements on … resolutely opposing and deterring separatists seeking ‘Taiwan independence'”.
The existing charter says only that the party will “work continuously to strengthen the unity of all the Chinese people, including compatriots … in Taiwan” as part of efforts to achieve the “reunification of the motherland”.
Beijing views self-ruled Taiwan as part of its own territory and has vowed to one day take it – by force if necessary.
Tensions ratcheted up in the summer when US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island, prompting Beijing to launch huge military drills.
During the congress opening ceremony, Xi reiterated that China would never renounce the option of using force to impose its rule on Taiwan.
Xi, 69, is widely expected to be confirmed on Sunday to a third five-year leadership term as party general secretary.