The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China is current debating proposals that could change a long held status quo in respect of the Chinese leadership. According to current regulations, the position of President of China, which in reality is a ceremonial post which is typically attached to the more meaningful post of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, is limited to two consecutive terms. Today, proposals to eliminate the term limit statute are being discussed with the clear implication being that there is a movement to support an extension of Xi Jinping’s current term with expires in 2023.
In 1982, the position of General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, was introduced to replace the similar role of Party Chairman which had previously been the most important political role in China. The most well known Party Chairman was Mao Zedong, who held his position from 1945 until his death in 1976.
From the late 1970s until the early 1990s, the most influential man in China and the de-facto head of state was the great reformer Deng Xiaoping. Deng held a variety of positions during his time as Paramount Leader, but this did not include General Secretary. While Deng formally retired from politics in 1992, he remained the most influential political thinker in China, not least because Deng Xiaoping Theory had become accepted as the next building block of Chinese Communist thought since that of Mao Zedong.
Since the 1990s, a system has settled in whereby the General Secretary is the position held by China’s paramount leader, which also corresponds with the ceremonial office of President, the title which General Secretaries are generally referred to with the most frequency abroad as well as on certain state occasions domestically.
Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism With Chinese Characteristics For A New Era has already been enshrined into official Party doctrine, while it continues to shape China’s modern global win-win outlook. While Deng brought his pragmatic, problem solving economic theories into the equation of a Maoist society which led to mass industrialisation and an increase in living standards, Xi’s unique thought has led to China through a period which will see the country replace the United States as the world’s overall leading economy in areas where China isn’t already on top.
In order to cope with this change, Xi Jinping Thought places an emphasis on investing the country’s wealth into new innovation schemes which will see ‘made in China’ be transformed into ‘created in China’. China will not just be a producer of excellent goods across the world’s most diverse industries, but it will also become a country which will pioneer new technologies for the 21st century and beyond.
Furthermore, China will continue to invest the proceeds of national wealth directly into the daily lives of the people. China has already lifted more people out of poverty in a short period of time than any other country in history and according to Xi’s five year plan, remnants of rural poverty will also be fully eliminated in the near future.
Xi Jinping Thought seeks to balance the material benefits of a wealthy country with traditional customs, the communitarian values which are central to Chinese Communist thought and a general healthy moral and national outlook among Chinese citizens. Thus, Xi seeks to avoid the lack of moral guidance that tends to flourish when capitalist societies become wealthy.
If Xi is able to extend the period of his leadership, it will allow him to directly supervise the implementation of his own Thought. Xi Jinping has become an incredibly popular leader and a figure of inspiration not just in China, but among many overseas Chinese who have redeveloped new positive connections with the People’s Republic of China during Xi’s period in power. Furthermore, for countless non-Chinese from South East Asia to Africa, the Middle East and Latin American, Xi’s Thought is seen as the most effect modern tool to liberate developing nations from the scourge of poverty and post-colonial domination by the old hegemonic empires of the west.
If the correct amendments are made, it would appear only logical for Xi Jinping to extend his term of leadership beyond 2023, as his Thought will be as relevant then as it is today.