Xi Jinping: a political history


Slow beginnings

Xi Jinping, the son of communist revolutionary and political leader Xi Zhongxun, started his political career when he was finally accepted as a member of China’s Communist Party in 1974. Xi had applied to join the party several times, but was rejected due to his father’s political history — Xi Zhongxun had been purged in 1962 and was then persecuted and jailed during China's Cultural Revolution.


Rise to the top

Xi studied chemical engineering at Tsinghua University, but after acceptance to the Communist Party he worked hard to reach the top ranks. In 1982, he started out as a party secretary in Herbei province before advancing to more senior roles in the country, such as numerous provincial governor positions and then party chief in China’s second biggest city and financial hub Shanghai.


Presidential success

On November 15, 2012, Xi was elected general secretary of the Communist Party and chairman of the Central Military Commission by the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, which informally made him China’s leader. On March 14, 2013, Xi was officially elected president in a confirmation vote by the 12th National People’s Congress. He replaced Hu Jintao who had served his two terms.


The Chinese Dream

Following his election, the phrase "Chinese Dream" became the political slogan of Xi’s leadership. While some thought it echoed the American Dream, it refers to the rejuvenation of China. Xi has called for the "great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation" and for his country to take its "due place in the world." He said that China is "resolved to fight the bloody battle against our enemies."


Historic meeting

On November 7, 2015, Xi met with then-Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou in Singapore, in the first meeting between China and Taiwan's leaders since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949. However, in March 2018, Xi Jinping warned Taiwan it would face the "punishment of history" for any attempt at separatism. It was Xi's harshest warning yet to the island, which China claims as its territory.


Core leader

On October 27, 2016, Xi was declared the "core" leader of the Communist Party, a title that is bestowed upon a leader who is seen as central to the leadership of the Communist Party of China. Just three others have been given the title, including Chairman Mao Zedong, who's commonly considered to be the founding father of modern China, former chairman Deng Xiaoping and former president Jiang Zemin.


Military influence

In December 2017, the People's Armed Police in China was put under the command of the Central Military Commission, which controls China's military. It put the 660,000-strong force under the direct control of President Xi Jinping, who heads the Central Military Commission as armed forces chief and commander in chief.


Indefinite power

On March 17, 2018, China’s parliament elected Xi for a second term and unanimously voted in favor of an amendment to the country’s constitution that removed presidential term limits. China previously had a limit of two terms, a system brought in by former leader Deng Xiaoping in 1982, to prevent lifelong dictatorships. The amendment allows President Xi Jinping to stay in power indefinitely.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has been elected for a second term that should have been his last. Following the passing of an amendment that removes presidential term limits, DW looks at Xi's political career so far.

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