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India’s World- What Does Xi Jinping Becoming “Core” Leader Mean?



India’s World- What Does Xi Jinping Becoming “Core” Leader Mean?


President Xi Jinping has been given the title of “core” leader by the Chinese Communist Party. This puts him on par with previous strong leaders like Mao, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin. Since assuming office 4 years ago, Xi Jinping has been consolidating power in him. In all, he has accumulated around a dozen formal titles already. Although the term core leader does not carry any specific powers, Xi Jinping’s newest title reinforces his power to shape the future leadership for the party. Many fear that Xi Jinping with too much power is eroding the principle of collective leadership adopted to prevent arbitrary abuse of power.


Deng coined the phrase “core” leader. He said Mao, he himself and Jiang Zemin were core leaders, meaning they had almost absolute authority and were not to be questioned. The plenum meeting paves the way for a Congress, held every five years in which Xi will further consolidate his power in 2017. The “core” leader title marks a significant strengthening of Xi’s position ahead of a key party Congress next year, at which a new Standing Committee, the centre of power in China, will be constituted.


The notion of “core” leader is not a sudden development. It has been a part of the discourse. The idea of a core leader is now enshrined as somebody around whom the party revolves, who is really going to be the decision maker and who is fully effective to control the Party in tough times.  Already the party chief, the head of state, the commander-in-chief of the military and the one in charge of the group overseeing the change in the economy, he is now almost equivalent with Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

Even though Mr. Xi gathers absolute powers in the party and the state, his tenure will be judged by how he addresses fundamental problems of China including systemic inequities and foreign policy challenges while managing the economic rebalance process.  Corruption is a major problem in China at present.  He gradually emerged as the most influential leader after Deng and demonstrated his authority by launching a massive clean-up in the name of fighting corruption. Mr. Xi is also near the end of first five years of his power and the party congress next year has to appoint a new line up to serve under him for coming five years.


In a nutshell, there is a possibility that further development of the present political climate around over-concentration of power in the hands of Xi Jinping might impact the intra-party power equations in China. In the coming months, it would therefore be necessary for Mr. Xi to ensure that his loyalists get elected to key positions in the Congress. He may also have to pay attention to complete the ongoing military reforms and handle the economic downturn prior to the Congress. At present, there is nothing so far to stop Mr. Xi from getting re-elected as the party