China's Communist Party Congress closes, cementing Xi Jinping's 'core' status

A third five-year leadership term would solidify Xi's place as China's most powerful ruler since Mao Zedong.

 Chinese President Xi Jinping claps after his speech as China's new Politburo Standing Committee members meet the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 25, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS/JASON LEE)
Chinese President Xi Jinping claps after his speech as China's new Politburo Standing Committee members meet the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 25, 2017.
(photo credit: REUTERS/JASON LEE)

China's Communist Party on Saturday approved amendments to its constitution aimed at cementing the core status of Xi Jinping and the guiding role of his political thought within the party as it wrapped up its twice-a-decade congress.

The party was also set on Saturday to elect its Central Committee, which on Sunday will choose the elite Politburo Standing Committee, with Xi, 69, widely expected to secure a third leadership term.

A third five-year leadership term would solidify Xi's place as China's most powerful ruler since Mao Zedong, founding leader of the People's Republic.

Among the amendments to the party constitution, the "Two Establishes" define Xi as the "core" leader of the party and cement his ideas as the guiding principles of China's future development. The "Two Safeguards" assure Xi's "core" status within the party and the party's centralized authority over China.

How did voting work?

Voting was conducted by show of hands in the vast Great Hall of the People, where much of the week's party congress proceedings have taken place behind closed doors.

 A child holds a Chinese national flag to celebrate Chinese National Day in Hong Kong, China October 1, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/TYRONE SIU) A child holds a Chinese national flag to celebrate Chinese National Day in Hong Kong, China October 1, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/TYRONE SIU)

The congress concluded with a military band playing "The Internationale."

At its first plenum on Sunday, the party's new central committee will choose the next Politburo, which is typically 25 people, and its new Standing Committee, which currently numbers seven.

The new leadership will be unveiled when Xi, widely expected to be renewed in China's top post as party general secretary, walks into a room of journalists at the Great Hall, followed by the other members of the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) in descending order of rank.