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07:36, 24 March 2018 Saturday
09:54, 26 February 2018 Monday

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China's Xi takes another stride in Mao's footsteps
China's Xi takes another stride in Mao's footsteps

State media said on Sunday that the ruling Communist Party had proposed abolishing rules limiting leaders to two five-year terms, a guideline imposed in Mao's wake to avoid a repeat of the chaos triggered by his radical political campaigns.

World Bulletin / News Desk

Xi Jinping's tightening grip on China had already earned the leader comparisons to Mao Zedong, but they came into even sharper focus after the party paved the way for him to assume the presidency indefinitely.

The move could allow the 64-year-old Xi to remain in power for life, ruling as a virtual emperor, and is the latest feather in the cap of a Communist "princeling" who is re-making China in his own image.

Xi, who was given a second term as the party's general secretary at the five-yearly party congress in October, has amassed seemingly unchecked power and a level of officially-stoked adulation unseen since Communist China's founder Mao.

Even though his father Xi Zhongxun -- a renowned revolutionary hero turned vice premier -- was purged by Mao, Xi has remained true to the party that rules with an iron fist and over which he reigns supreme.

Xi is the first Chinese leader to have been born after 1949, when Mao's Communist forces took over following a protracted civil war.

The purging of his father led to years of difficulties for the family, but he nevertheless rose through its ranks.

Beginning as a county-level party secretary in 1969, Xi climbed to the governorship of coastal Fujian province in 1999, then party chief of Zhejiang province in 2002 and eventually Shanghai in 2007.

That same year, he was appointed to the Politburo Standing Committee. 

Following Mao's disastrous economic campaigns and the bloody 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, the Communist leadership sought to prevent further chaos by tempering presidential power through a system in which major personnel and policy decisions were hashed out by the ruling Politburo Standing Committee.

The move helped prevent political power from becoming too concentrated in the hands of a single leader but was also blamed for policy indecision that led to growing ills such as worsening pollution, corruption and social unrest.

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