China’s Xi handed historic third term as president

Beijing-Xi Jinping was handed a third term as Chinese president on Friday, capping a rise that has seen him become the country’s most powerful leader in generations.

His appointment by China’s parliament comes after Xi locked in another five years as head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in October.

Since then, the 69-year-old has weathered widespread protests over his zero-Covid policy.

But those issues have been avoided at this week’s National People’s Congress (NPC) that is set to appoint Xi ally Li Qiang as the new premier.

On Friday, delegates handed Xi a third term as president and re-appointed him head of the country’s Central Military Commission in a unanimous vote.

Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, a state building on the edge of Tiananmen Square, was adorned with crimson carpets and banners for the landmark vote, with a military band providing background music.

A digital monitor on the edge of the stage proclaimed the final tally -- all 2,952 votes had been cast in favour of giving Xi another term in office.

The announcement was followed by delegates’ fervent declarations of allegiance to the Chinese constitution, in a demonstration of loyalty and unanimity.

Xi held up his right fist and placed his left hand on a red, leather-bound copy of China’s constitution.

In an oath beamed live on state television, he vowed to “build a prosperous, strong, democratic, civilised, harmonious and great modern socialist country”.

China’s close ally Russia offered Xi its sincere congratulations on his re-election.

“Russia highly values your personal contribution toward the strengthening of ties... and strategic cooperation between our nations,” President Vladimir Putin said in a letter to Xi.

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