Prepare to hear the name Xi Jinping for years to come as a main player on the world stage. China's Communist Party on Tuesday made a rare constitutional move that elevates Xi to the status of Mao Zedong and sets the stage for him to rule indefinitely. Specifically, the party enshrined Xi's ideology, dubbed "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in a New Era," into the constitution, meaning it will be taught in schools from now on, reports the Guardian. He is only the third Chinese leader to receive the honor, after Mao and Deng Xioping, notes the Washington Post. Technically, Xi is only formally beginning his second five-year term as party secretary, but the move and the accolades he has received all week seemingly guarantee his long-term status.
"The amendment of the party constitution effectively confirms Xi Jinping's aspiration to be the Mao Zedong of the 21st century—that means a top leader with no constraints on tenure or retirement age," says an expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. So what is Xi Jinping Thought? The BBC explains that while it smacks of "vague rhetoric," it contains 14 principles that Xi has long espoused, including a call for "complete and deep reform" and a pledge of "harmonious living between man and nature." Carrie Gracie of the BBC writes that the "new era" part of Xi's ideology is significant. This would be modern China's third. The first was Mao "uniting a country devastated by civil war," the second was Deng making the nation rich, and "this new era is about even more unity and wealth at the same time as making China disciplined at home and strong abroad." (Xi spoke for more than 3 hours last week. Here's what he said.)