BEIJING, Oct. 27 (UPI) — China’s most powerful man has a new title that reflects his raised status in the Chinese Communist Party.
President Xi Jinping was named “core” leader of the party on Thursday, a title that was abandoned during the term of Xi’s predecessor Hu Jintao, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
The term’s revival holds ideological significance, experts say.
The change also means Xi is almost guaranteed to serve as the leader for another five years, while appointing new officials under him, The New York Times reported.
Five of the seven members of China’s Politburo Standing Committee are expected to step down, with the exception of Xi and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
An official communiqué from the four-day meeting stated, “[The leadership] with Comrade Xi Jinping as its core has acted on its words, led by example, and staunchly promoted comprehensively and strictly managing the party…For a country and for a party, a leading core is vitally important.”
The party statement also requested obedient unity under Xi, according to The Times.
Past Chinese leaders honored as “core” leaders include Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin.
Xi, who is the son of Xi Zhongxun, a member of the first generation of Chinese communist leaders led by Mao, benefits from the core designation because it “puts him on a path toward granting him ideological arbiter status,” said Christopher K. Johnson, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in Washington, D.C.
The designation has consequences for new government appointments in fall 2017, Johnson said.