China's ruling Communist Party passed a resolution enshrining Xi Jinping as one of its greatest leaders.
Xi has now been elevated to a status akin to that of party founder Mao Zedong.
The resolution gives Xi the political currency to rule over China indefinitely.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping achieved a major victory on Thursday as the ruling Communist Party passed a historic resolution that enshrined him as one of the country's greatest leaders, in a move that seemingly grants him the political momentum to rule indefinitely - possibly for life.
The resolution - a document that summarizes the party's 100-year history - elevated Xi to the same level as party founder Mao Zedong and the highly influential leader Deng Xiaoping, who is credited with modernizing China's economy, in terms of the Communist Party's official political history. After Mao and Deng, Xi is just the third leader since the party's founding to see such a resolution passed.
"Comrade Xi Jinping, through meticulous assessment and deep reflection on a number of major theoretical and practical questions regarding the cause of the Party and the country in the new era, has set forth a series of original new ideas, thoughts, and strategies on national governance revolving around the major questions of our times," a communique on the resolution said.
The resolution is indicative of the myriad ways in which Xi has cemented his grip on power, and sets the stage for him to next year pursue an unprecedented third five-year term as China's ruler. China's rubber-stamp parliament eliminated presidential term limits in 2018, and all of his immediate predecessors only served two terms.
Experts say that criticism of Xi could now be perceived as an attack against the party, given he is now enshrined as a crucial element of its history.
"Not everyone in the party is convinced that this centralization authority and the valorization of a supreme leader is the best way to build the party and strengthen China," Timothy Cheek, a professor at the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia, told the Wall Street Journal. "The historical resolution will decidedly answer those concerns, claim the moral high ground and, importantly, define political disagreement or dissent as disloyalty and treachery."
"He has set himself up to be Chairman for Life. No matter how long he survives in this game of thrones, when he departs the scene he will not have provided for an orderly succession," Cheek added.
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