Xi Jinping will continue as China’s head of state, with a third term as president announced Friday.
With the announcement, he will be the longest serving head of state since the Communist Party took over in 1949, per CNN.
The legislature, dominated by the Communist Party, held a unanimous vote to allow Xi to continue “holding the three main crowns of power in China — party, military and state — with no rivals or potential successors vying for attention,” The New York Times reported.
He took power in the National People’s Congress in 2012 and quickly “filled the top ranks of the ruling Communist Party with his supporters,” according to NBC News.
There was a two-term limit on presidential terms, but the rule was removed from the Chinese Constitution in 2018, allowing Xi to possibly remain in power for life, per NBC News.
Xi returns for the term to rising tensions with the U.S. and other Western countries over China’s relationship with Russia and its conduct with Taiwan. China instituted a “zero-COVID” policy during the COVID-19 pandemic, imposing strict rules on citizens requiring strict quarantines. Chinese residents took to the streets to protest the regulations during fall 2022, and government loosened up most of the restrictions. During the pandemic, China’s economy took a significant dive, which Xi blames on Western powers.
“Western countries led by the United States have contained and suppressed us in an all-round way, which has brought unprecedented severe challenges to our development,” Xi said during a meeting with government advisers and business leaders, per CNN.