Just in time for President Trump’s visit next month, China’s President Xi Jinping has had himself elevated to a level of political deification unseen in the Middle Kingdom since Mao Zedong.
At the end of a week-long Communist Party Congress Tuesday, the party’s new leadership, the Politburo’s Standing Committee, was unveiled in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. The line-up of six dour-faced men, all Xi allies, was split with the 64-year-old Xi standing center-stage.
He was the only one smiling.
No wonder. Unlike previous “collective leadership” announcements since Chairman Mao died in 1976, the new arrangement sets no one as Xi’s heir apparent, positioning him as unchallenged party chief to succeed himself as supreme leader when his second term as president expires in 2022.
In a significant indication of Xi’s newfound, one-man power, the select gathering of 2,336 party members enshrined Xi’s ‘Thoughts on Socialism’ within the party Constitution. The less than surprising vote total was 2,336 Ayes, 0 Nays. This puts Xi’s thoughts right up there with Mao’s thoughts as paramount thinking.
President Trump begins an 11-day trip to five countries plus Hawaii on Nov. 3.
He is scheduled to arrive in Beijing on Nov. 8 for meetings with Xi and other Chinese officials and talks on relations, trade and culture.
He will also visit Japan where he’ll meet with families of hostages held in North Korea and South Korea where he’ll address the National Assembly and visit some of the 30,500 U.S. troops stationed there. Additionally, he’ll stop in Danang and Hanoi in Vietnam and Manila in the Philippines.
According to the White House, “The President’s travel will underscore his commitment to longstanding United States alliances and partnerships, and reaffirm United States leadership in promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific region.”