Xi Jinping: Chinese leader begins historic third term in power - why his re-appointment is history-making

Xi Jinping was sworn in for a historic third term as resident of China. (Credit: Getty Images)Xi Jinping was sworn in for a historic third term as resident of China. (Credit: Getty Images)
Xi Jinping was sworn in for a historic third term as resident of China. (Credit: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images
Jinping has become one of China’s most powerful leaders in decades as he kicks off his next five years in power

Xi Jinping has begun his third term in power in China, cementing him as one of the most powerful leaders of the country in recent decades.

The Chinese president was sworn in once again after a ceremonial vote in the parliament. The choreographed and largely symbolic ceremony took place in Beijing on Friday (10 March).

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Jinping, 69, was expected to take the role up again, with the ceremony confirming his re-appointment being considered a formality in the proceedings. It came after he was given the posts of General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) last October.

The third term of Jinping’s premiership comes amid a backdrop of some unease and anti-government sentiments in China and an increasingly testy relationship with the US. His infamous zero-tolerance Covid policy was widely protested across the country, which led to the stripping back of restrictions, while US-China relations flared once again after ‘weather’ balloons were shot down over the US at the beginning of 2023.

His re-appointment was welcomed by some world leaders however, including Russian president Vladimir Putin, whom Jinping has remained a close ally of for much of his time in power. Putin said: “I am confident that working together, we will ensure the further growth of fruitful Russian-Chinese cooperation in various fields.”

What happened as Xi Jinping was sworn in for a third time?

The ceremony was held at the lavish Great Hall of the People in Beijing. China’s rubber-stamp legislature confirmed Jinping for his third term of another five years.

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Jinping received unanimous approval from the party, gaining 2,952 votes for him to continue into his third term. He also received a standing ovation during the ceremony.

Xi Jinping was sworn in for a historic third term as resident of China. (Credit: Getty Images)Xi Jinping was sworn in for a historic third term as resident of China. (Credit: Getty Images)
Xi Jinping was sworn in for a historic third term as resident of China. (Credit: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

A reshuffle has been taking place within China’s central government over the past few months. At the same ceremony held by the National People’s Congress (NPC), figures such as Zhao Leji and Han Zheng were inducted as the NPC’s head and China’s vice-president respectively.

Further appointments are expected to take place in the coming days, with Li Qiang - a protege of Jinping’s - expected to be given the role of premier. Jinping has largely stripped back the importance of the role, having picked up much of the economic responsibilities himself, but it is still a well-regarded position within the government.

Why is Xi Jinping’s third term so important?

Jinping’s role as ‘president’ is a mostly symbolic and ceremonial title. The power he wields comes with his roles as General Secretary of the party and Chairman of the military.

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His re-appointment to both roles means that he is now a history-maker. Jinping is now the longest-running leader under the country’s communist government since its inception in 1949, beating even Chairman Mao who founded the modern government.

Presidential term limits had been commonplace since 1982, before being abolished in 2018 under Jinping’s rule. This means that the leader will effectively be able to lead for as long as he is alive and able to.

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