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National People's Congress

Top cadres propose adding ‘Xi Jinping Thought’ to Chinese constitution

Political theory of his predecessor Hu Jintao will also be included

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 11:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 February, 2018, 1:56pm

A closed-door meeting of the ruling Communist Party on Friday endorsed a proposal to include “Xi Jinping Thought”, the president’s political theory, in China’s constitution, Xinhua reported.

The proposal – to be formally approved by the national legislature’s full session in March – would make Xi the first sitting Chinese leader to see his name in the constitution since Mao Zedong.

It follows revisions made in October at the party congress that saw Xi’s theory – Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era – enshrined in the party charter.

The South China Morning Post has reported that revisions to be discussed at the meeting were also likely to include the addition of former president Hu Jintao’s contribution to the Chinese Communist Party’s political theory, which was added to the party charter in 2007 but is yet to be included in the constitution.

The preamble of the constitution states that the party is guided by Marxism and Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory and the Three Represents – the latter three being the theoretical legacies of Mao, Deng and former president Jiang Zemin.

But the statement released after Friday’s meeting put Hu’s theory – Scientific Outlook of Development – ahead of Xi’s thoughts as being among the “guiding principles” for the revision.

Jiang’s Three Represents was added to the constitution when it was last amended in 2004, when he had retired from most top public offices except the military’s governing commission. Deng’s theory was included in the constitution in 1999, two years after his death.

Revisions discussed at the meeting on Friday will also pave the way for the new National Supervisory Commission to be established, a move described in the statement as “a major political reform”.

The super anti-corruption body will have huge investigative power and is being set up under a national supervision law that is also expected to be passed by the legislature in March.

Revisions to Chinese constitution will be key task for top cadres at plenum

Some of Xi’s signature policies were also discussed at the second plenum of the party’s Central Committee – a two-day session that finished on Friday – including environmental conservation and building “a shared destiny of mankind”, Xi’s call for China to play a bigger role in global affairs.

These policies were also likely to be added to the constitution, according to Beijing-based political commentator Zhang Lifan.

“The slogans he’s come up with may also be included in the preamble as part of the narrative of the country’s history,” Zhang said. “We were also watching for any change to the term limit [of the president] but there was no mention of that in the communiqué.”

First he swept up corrupt officials. Now Xi is tightening party control