China’s President Xi Jinping has collected titles ranging from National Security Council chief to good old “Uncle Xi.” Along the way, he has used state media to make his views known on such seemingly apolitical topics as avant garde architecture and celebrity culture.
That is not unusual for a national leader, but in China such labels and such opinions are taken extremely seriously – and the latter, in Xi’s case, are sometimes translated directly into government policy in China’s top-down, autocratic one-party system. They underscore the tremendous clout Xi has accumulated over his three years as president, which now seems set to rise still further.
As China’s ceremonial legislature prepares to meet for its annual session, there are growing signs that Xi will be elevated to the position of “core” of the current generation of leaders, an accolade bestowed on past leaders, but which his immediate predecessor never attained.
While mainly symbolic, the move points not only to Xi’s overwhelming grasp on power within the ruling Communist Party, but also his need to continue accumulating accolades to ward off potential challengers and deflect worries over a slowing economy. Read More