Amid celebrations over the centenary of the ruling Communist Party, Chinese President Xi Jinping has awarded loyal party members with medals and called for adherence to Marxism.
Xi’s speech at a ceremony on Tuesday follows a lavish celebration at Beijing’s Olympic stadium on Monday night, emphasising China’s rise to economic and political prominence following reforms enacted more than 40 years ago.
While unleashing private industry, the governing party has maintained an iron grip on political power, along with preferential policies towards state-run companies.
“All party comrades should take their faith in Marxism and the socialism with Chinese characteristics as their life’s purposes,” Xi said in his address to medal winners. Celebrations conclude with a commemoration on Thursday at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Over his nine years as the party head, Xi has established himself as China’s most powerful ruler since Mao Zedong, who founded the People’s Republic in 1949 after defeating Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalists amid civil war.
Like Mao, Xi is not bound by term limits and, at 68, will likely remain in office for years to come.
While repressing any sign of political opposition at home and promoting an anti-corruption campaign, he has advanced an increasingly assertive foreign policy that seeks to command control over the South China Sea, intimidate Taiwan into accepting Beijing’s control, and join with Russia in challenging the US influence in international affairs.