By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
Thursday’s announcement enables Xi to more comfortable claim third five-year terms as president and party general secretary.
In 2018 China’s Communist-run National People’s Congress, the Parliament, removed the two-term limit on the presidency, effectively allowing Xi to remain in power for life.
On Thursday, officials enshrined Xi in his party’s official firmament of era-defining leaders to a stature alongside Mao Zedong, the founder of the country’s Communist rule. Xi is also next to Deng Xiaoping, viewed as the chief architect of China’s economic takeoff.
The move was due to put more pressure on devoted Christians, and others deemed “dangerous” to Xi’s rule and Communist ideology, according to a Worthy News analysis.
Under Xi, at least hundreds of crosses across China were already removed from, for instance, churches and Christian homes, several sources confirmed.
Chinese officials forced some Christians to even “smash the crosses on their churches” and remove images of Jesus from their homes, Christians and other sources said.
Authorities reportedly destroyed religious symbols in churches in multiple provinces, including Anhui, Jiangsu, Hebei, and Zhejiang, as part of a Communist indoctrination campaign.
Officials of Shanxi, another region, demanded religious images be taken down and replaced with pictures of Communist leaders at the homes of impoverished believers, sources said.
And with Xi being elevated, his vision on protecting the Communist Party’s ideology was expected to further force Christians and other minorities to comply.
The four-day, closed-door meeting of the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s central committee, known as the sixth plenum, was produced a resolution on the history of the party.
Analysts say it will shape domestic politics and society for decades to come despite concerns among rights activists and other critics.
Under Xi’s leadership, China has “made historic achievements and undergone a historic transformation,” said the official resolution from the meeting.
Under Mao, Deng, and Xi, the communiqué said, China had “achieved the tremendous transformation from standing up and growing prosperous to becoming strong.”
Its announcements will play a big part in the leadership shake-up at a Communist Party congress that is likely to be held in 2022, observers said.
President Xi, China’s most powerful leader in decades, also appeared to secure a third five-year term as the party’s general secretary. There is no rival leader or heir apparent in view.
With his party mentioning him among the country’s historical giants, Xi appeared confident to claim that he is the only leader to steer China toward superpower status.
On Thursday, he told the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum of Asian nations to resist forming “small circles on geopolitical grounds.” He was referring to efforts by U.S. President Joe Biden to seek alliances with democratically-minded countries to counter China’s rise.
“The Asia-Pacific region cannot and should not relapse into the antagonism and division of the Cold War era,” Xi said.
Analysts say that although China overcame the COVID-19 pandemic, it faces economic risks from debt-laden companies.
Experts also cite social pressures as its population gets older and growing distrust from the United States and other Western countries.
However, Xi’s added grip on power was likely to increase concern in Washington that the U.S. may lose its status as superpower and leader of the free world.