Chinese leader Xi Jinping will remain in power for an unprecedented third five-year term, breaking a two-term norm set by his predecessors.
Xi, 69, will be the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) until at least 2028.
The Chinese regime announced its new leadership on Oct. 23, naming Xi and six other Party officials to the Politburo Standing Committee, the communist regime’s highest decision-making body.
Second in the Politburo Standing Committee’s ranking order is Li Qiang, 63, who is currently the Party secretary of Shanghai. Li is expected to be named as the Chinese regime’s premier next March, replacing current Premier Li Keqiang.
Third in the Party rank is Zhao Leji, 65, who currently leads the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the regime’s anti-corruption body. Next in line is Wang Huning, 67, a well-known Party theorist who is now heading for his second five-year term as a member of the Politburo Standing Committee.
The final three committee members are Cai Qi, 66, the current Party secretary of Beijing; Ding Xuexiang, 60, Xi’s chief of staff; and Li Xi, 66, the current Party secretary of Guangdong Province.
Li's exit from the top echelon of the Party is a surprise, considering he's only 67 years old—a year younger than the Party’s unwritten retirement age. In China, CCP officials who are 67 or younger at the time of a Party congress can be promoted, while those 68 and older are expected to retire—an informal rule known as “seven up, eight down.”
Chinese state-run media Xinhua News Agency later said on Twitter, which is inaccessible in China, that its reporter had learned that Hu had "insisted on attending the closing session of the Party’s 20th National Congress, despite the fact that he has been taking time to recuperate recently.”
“When he was not feeling well during the session, his staff, for his health, accompanied him to a room next to the meeting venue for a rest. Now, he is much better,” it wrote on Twitter.
But others saw the incident as a sign of a power play.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who sits on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, said on Twitter that Xi was flexing his political muscle by having Hu removed.
Future of ChinaLi Hengqing, a U.S.-based China analyst, said the Chinese economy isn't going to improve under Xi.
“I believe the fourth-quarter economic data will be even worse. Economic challenges are going to get bigger year after year, and the [economy] is going to get worse,” Li said in an interview with the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times.
He added that it is political infighting that has propelled Xi to his current position. As a result, he foresees more political struggles in the future, potentially subjecting China to another era of mass-scale political movements.
Kenneth Roth, former executive director of Human Rights Watch, says that Xi has put together a team who won’t challenge him.
Amnesty International said Xi’s continued reign is a disaster for human rights.
“The government’s policies and practices under Xi’s leadership pose a threat to rights not just at home, but globally. From the government’s campaign to silence and forcibly repatriate Uyghurs overseas to its attempts to redefine the very meaning of human rights at the United Nations, the arm of Chinese state repression increasingly extends beyond China’s borders.
“And as Chinese activists, human rights lawyers, independent journalists, and other human rights defenders brace themselves for more of the same—or worse—the international community must redouble efforts to ensure the next five years are different."