All the buzzwords Xi Jinping added to the Chinese Communist Party’s constitution

Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin holds a magnifying glass while reading a document.
Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin holds a magnifying glass while reading a document.
Image: EPA-EFE/Wu Hong
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China’s president Xi Jinping has emerged from a pivotal Communist Party event an even more formidable leader. The new lineup of the nation’s de-facto top decision-making body, unveiled today (Oct. 25), holds no one young enough to succeed him—a signal that Xi might break with convention and remain head of the party beyond his second term, which ends in 2022.

Another major development from yesterday gives Xi long-lasting influence within the party, whether he stays in power or not: At the end of the 19th party congress, a twice-a-decade leadership reshuffle event, Xi enshrined his name and doctrine into the party’s constitution—an honor only one Chinese leader, the nation’s founding father Mao Zedong, had enjoyed while still in power.

The party’s constitution sets rules and principles for its 80 million members. It also sums up current and past leaders’ contribution to the party’s ideological work that will also determine the nation’s course. Amendments to the constitution can only be passed during the party congresses.

Although the full text of the new constitution has yet to be published, an official statement (link in Chinese) shows that the changes to the document are packed with Xi’s buzz words on everything from economic reforms to environmental protection to global leadership, marking China’s guiding document for years, if not decades, to come. 

Here’s a list of all things Xi in the party constitution:

Xi Jinping as the core: Xi got the official recognition as the party’s “core” leader around a year ago. Now “absolutely support Xi Jinping as the core of the Party Central Committee” has been written into the constitution.

Xi Jinping Thought: The “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” is a mouthful that basically means China becoming a stronger nation with a bigger say on the global stage. Every top Communist leader has seen his theory added to the constitution—but only Mao and Deng Xiaoping enjoyed the honor of name crowning their terms.

The Chinese Dream: Shortly after taking power in 2012, Xi aired his vision for achieving “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” underpinned by the two grand goals of wiping out poverty and turning China into a fully developed nation. 

A new principal contradiction: Also in his work report, Xi declared that the “principal contradiction” facing China’s socialist society has evolved. In the past, the contradiction was between “the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and backward social production.” Now, it is between “unbalanced and inadequate development and the people’s ever-growing needs for a better life,” Xi said. 

Belt & Road Initiative: Also known as “One Belt, One Road,” it’s a trillion-dollar infrastructure spending spree that aims to connect more than 60 countries spanning across Asia, Europe and Africa. Xi proposed it in 2013.

Supply-side structural reform: It’s Xi’s fancy way of referring to the government’s efforts to reduce industrial overcapacity and to deflate China’s ever-growing debt bubble. Xi’s catchphrase of “let the market play a decisive role in the allocation of resources” will also be included in the constitution, though Xi has so far done little to deliver on this.

A sense of gain: Xi first introduced the concept in 2015, saying that “making people have a sense of gain” is a measure of the value of any reforms.

“Lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets”: Xi put forward this slogan in 2005 while head of the coastal Zhejiang province. It came into prominence in describing China’s efforts to environmental protection since Xi became the party chief.

Common community of human destiny: This is Xi’s philosophical approach to globalization, first brought to the international stage at the Davos economic forum earlier this year.

The struggle against corruption : Xi’s anti-corruption campaign has toppled hundreds of senior party leaders and thousands more on lower levels.

Four Comprehensives: Chinese leaders have long loved numbered policies. Xi introduced “The Four Comprehensives” in 2015: first, comprehensively develop a moderately prosperous society; second, comprehensively deepen reform, third, comprehensively govern the nation according to law; and fourth, comprehensively be strict in governing the party.

Four Confidences: Here, Xi stands upon the shoulders of his predecessors. In 2012, then-president Hu Jintao came up with the doctrine that the party should have self-confidence in China’s “chosen path, political system, and guiding theories.” Since last year Xi has called upon a fourth confidence: confidence in China’s culture.

“Follow the Party, fight to win, forge exemplary conduct:” First introduced in 2013, the slogan refers to Xi’s ambition to build a world-leading first-class army.