Xi to tighten clutch on power at Communist conclave

The five-yearly congress, which opens Wednesday, will give Xi an opportunity to enhance his control over the world's second largest economy by stacking the halls of power with loyalists.

Xi to tighten clutch on power at Communist conclave

World Bulletin / News Desk

Chinese leader Xi Jinping is expected to tighten his grip on power at a Communist Party conclave this week, cementing his stature as the country's most dominant ruler in decades.

The 64-year-old supremo will undoubtedly be granted the customary second term as general secretary of the Communist Party, but analysts will watch for signs that he may try to hang on beyond 2022.

Xi's clout has drawn parallels with Mao Zedong, modern China's founder, and Deng Xiaoping, who spearheaded economic reforms as paramount leader from the late 1970s to early 1990s.

"We can basically describe there as being three eras: The era when Mao was in power, Deng Xiaoping's era, and now the 19th Party congress is in some sense the complete opening of the Xi Jinping era," Chinese political expert Chen Daoyin told AFP.

During his first term, Xi has already accumulated titles, nurtured a cult of personality and launched crackdowns on activists. Notably, the government let the country's most prominent dissident, Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, die of cancer in custody in July.

Party officials, including potential rivals, have fallen under his sweeping campaign against corruption, and he has reshuffled the military leadership.

On the global stage, Xi has used China's economic might to bring more countries into the Asian giant's orbit. While he has championed globalisation, the United States and Europe still complain of huge hurdles to enter the Chinese market.

He has even managed to build a rapport with Donald Trump, who has called Xi a "friend", visiting the US leader at his Florida resort and inviting him to Beijing after the congress in November despite differences over trade and how to handle North Korea.

All of it has been backstopped by a buildup of military muscle, as the leader has revamped the People's Liberation Army, opened the country's first overseas base in the Horn of Africa and aggressively asserted claims to the disputed South China Sea.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Ekim 2017, 16:05