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Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives for the opening of the 19th Communist Party National Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 18. Photo by Jason Lee/Reuters

Chinese President Xi elevated to Mao status

At the conclusion of the Communist Party National Conference on Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping not only was re-elected president for another five years, but his philosophy on Chinese socialism was included in the party’s constitution, alongside the words of founder Mao Zedong.

More than 2,000 delegates at the party congress, which is held every five years, approved the inclusion of “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era” in the Communist Party of China’s constitution, further cementing Xi’s power.

In the past, the document included ideologies from other leaders, but none besides Mao and Deng Xiaoping had their names attached.

Since Xi’s election in 2012, observers say the leader of the country of 1.4 billion people has cracked down on corruption – and dissenters. China now has the globe’s second largest economy, which has elevated the nation on the world stage in the eyes of many.

“His policies are sharper, but you also feel he’s close to the people. He’s also different because he speaks up on the world stage. As a Chinese, that’s a good feeling,” a 20-year-old student who gave only his surname Wang told the Associated Press.

“Xi Jinping has a vision of China’s role in the world that is much more ambitious than anything we have seen before, talking about China kind of moving toward the center of the world and having a lot more influence than it did before,” Susan Shirk, a research professor and chairwoman of the 21st Century China Center at the University of California, San Diego, told the PBS NewsHour.

An analysis by the Council on Foreign Relations says Xi’s second term will likely focus further on domestic economic reforms and the country’s “belt and road” initiatives, which invest in infrastructure along China’s trade routes.

The party congress also named a Central Committee, which will announce new members of the Politburo Standing Committee — China’s top executive body — on Wednesday.

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