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The political philosophy of Chinese President Xi Jinping will be added to the country’s constitution, but whether his name will too has yet to be decided. Photo: Xinhua

Xi Jinping’s political thought will be added to Chinese Communist Party constitution, but will his name be next to it?

Attachment of leader’s name to his political philosophy would put him on a par with Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping

The constitution of China’s Communist Party will be amended during the 19th party congress next month to include the political thoughts of President Xi Jinping, state media reported on Monday.

Political analysts have long pondered how Xi’s political theories might be added to the charter, but the wait will soon be over, as the party’s 25-member politburo has already discussed a draft amendment that will be tabled for discussion at the twice-a-decade meeting, which opens on October 18, Xinhua reported.

“The party will write key theory and strategic thoughts [taken from] the report on the 19th Party Congress into [its] constitution,” the report said.

“The revised constitution will reflect the major strategic thoughts the central leadership has set forth since the 18th party congress”, it said.

A woman browses books about President Xi Jinping at the Xidan Book Building in Beijing. Xi’s political ideas are set to be added to China’s constitution. Photo: Simon Song

China’s ruling party has published huge volumes on Xi’s political thoughts since he came to power five years ago. The inclusion of a personal political philosophy in the charter is an honour bestowed on several of Xi’s predecessors, but the big question now is whether the addition will also carry his name.

The draft amendment discussed by the politburo will next be submitted to a plenary session of the Communist Party’s 205-member Central Committee on October 11, which will be the final stage of preparation for the congress.

Beijing-based political analyst Zhang Lifan said that besides agreeing the final wording of the amendment, the main purpose of the plenary session would be to decide whether Xi’s name should be pinned to it.

“Once Xi’s name is incorporated in the constitution, his status in the party will be comparable to that of Mao [Zedong] and Deng [Xiaoping],” he said.

“If it is not, Xi will be regarded in much the same way as his predecessors Jiang [Zemin] and Hu [Jintao].”

The political philosophy of Xi’s immediate predecessor Hu Jintao, which was titled “Scientific Outlook on Development” became official a month before the 17th party congress, which convened in October 2007, at the end of his first term of office.

Jiang Zemin’s “Three Represents” was added to the party constitution at the 16th party congress in 2002, when he retired as the party’s general secretary.

Beijing has yet to make public the official name of Xi’s political philosophy, and Xinhua’s report about the politburo meeting made no mention of “Xi Jinping Thought”.

The 19th party congress will be attended by about 3,000 delegates who will “elect” the country’s top leadership for the next five years.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Party to add Xi ‘political thought’ to constitution