China’s Communist Party to amend its constitution at October congress

China’s ruling Communist Party will amend its constitution next month during a leadership reshuffle held over five years, a move that some analysts said could consolidate President Xi Jinping’s authority and status within the party.

State news agency Xinhua said on Friday that the Politburo discussed a draft amendment to the party constitution in a meeting chaired by Xi, without specifying the changes.

Xi is widely expected to break with precedent at the congress that starts on Oct. 16 and secure a third five-year leadership term, cementing his status his as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, founder of the People’s Republic.

The party’s constitution was last amended in 2017 to enshrine “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”, a move that burnished Xi’s standing.

Political watchers say one possibility is an amendment that shortens the ideology to “Xi Jinping Thought”, upgrading its status to that of “Mao Zedong Thought”.

Another possible change that would also be seen as an elevation of Xi’s power would be to enshrine the “Two Establishes”, a recent phrase which means the party establishes Xi as its “core” and his ideas as guiding principles.

Less likely, some pundits have suggested that the constitution could reinstate the paramount position of party chairman, which was abolished in 1982.

The party constitution can only be amended during the once-in-five-years congress.

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