* Chinese leader cements power at Communist Party Congress
* His 'Socialism with Chinese Characteristics' included in
* Xi now ranks alongside Mao, founder of modern China
* New Standing Committee announced on Wednesday
(Adds party quotes, details of amendments to constitution, new
Central Committee, paragraphs 4-6, 13-15; adds byline)
By Michael Martina
BEIJING, Oct 24 (Reuters) - China's ruling Communist Party
enshrined President Xi Jinping's political thought into its
constitution on Tuesday, putting him in the same company as the
founder of modern China, Mao Zedong, and cementing his power
ahead of a new top leadership line-up.
The party unanimously passed the amendment to include "Xi
Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a
New Era" as one of its guiding principles at the end of its
The party will announce its new Standing Committee, the apex
of power in China, around midday (0400 GMT) on Wednesday,
culminating a twice-a-decade leadership reshuffle. The current
committee is made up of seven people.
Also included in the amended constitution was the party's
"absolute" leadership over the military, that the fight against
corruption will continue, Xi's "Belt and Road" development
initiative, supply-side reforms, and giving play to the
"decisive role" of market forces in resource allocation.
"The congress holds that the leadership of the Communist
Party of China is the most essential attribute of socialism with
Chinese characteristics and the greatest strength of this
system," the party said in a statement.
"The party exercises overall leadership over all areas of
endeavour in every part of the country," it said.
Whether Xi was able to have his name "crowned" in the party
constitution had been seen as a key measure of his power,
elevating him to the level of previous leaders exemplified by
Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory.
No other leader since Mao has had an eponymous ideology
included in the document while in office. Deng's name was added
after his death in 1997.
Xi's more recent predecessors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao,
both had the party constitution amended to include their guiding
thoughts, but without their names directly attached.
Jiang had his "Three Represents" embracing private
entrepreneurs written in, while Hu, Xi's immediate predecessor,
had his economic doctrine of "scientific development" included.
Xi has rapidly consolidated power since assuming party
leadership in late 2012 and then the presidency the next year.
The party gave Xi the title of "core" leader a year ago, a
significant strengthening of his position ahead of the congress,
which is held once every five years.
The party also announced a new Central Committee, the
largest of its elite ruling bodies, that did not include
anti-corruption tsar and current Standing Committee member Wang
Qishan, meaning he will not be on the new Standing Committee.
However, he could be given another role that is not decided
for a few months.
China's top banking regulator, Guo Shuqing, and veteran
banker Jiang Chaoliang, front runners to succeed Zhou Xiaochuan
as central bank governor, both made it to the Central Committee.
(Reporting by Michael Martina; Writing by Ben Blanchard;
Editing by Neil Fullick and Paul Tait)
First Published: 2017-10-24 06:16:47
Updated 2017-10-24 07:54:14
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