China’s ruling Communist Party will enshrine President Xi Jinping’s political thought into the country’s constitution, state media said on Friday, further solidifying his power following its addition last year to the party constitution.
The arguably more important party constitution was amended at the once-in-five-years party congress in October to include Xi’s political thought.
The party unanimously passed an amendment then to add “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” as one of its guiding principles.
Following a two-day meeting in Beijing, the party has now proposed writing the same theory into the state constitution, state news agency Xinhua said.
Because the amendment is of the state constitution, it needs parliament to formally approve it, probably when it holds its annual session in March, though it could happen before.
Whether Xi was able to have his name “crowned” in the party constitution had been seen as a key measure of his power, elevating him to a level of previous leaders exemplified by Mao Zedong Thought and Deng Xiaoping Theory.
No other leader since Mao has had an eponymous ideology included in the document while in office. Deng’s name was added after his death in 1997.
The state constitution was last amended in 2004 to include guarantees to protect private property and human rights.
While it theoretically offers broad guarantees to things like freedom of speech, religion and association, rights groups say in practice these are ignored. It also highlights the primacy of the Communist Party in leading China.
Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie