Chinese President Xi calls for tight control over religious affairs

Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for greater efforts to safeguard national political security and social stability as he gears up for an unprecedented third term in power this year.

In an instruction to the political and legal work committee of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), Xi said efforts should be made to ensure fair access to justice for every individual, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

Calling on the political and legal work front to uphold the absolute leadership of the CPC and draw wisdom and strength from the party’s century-long struggle, Xi urged party officials to promote the ability to forestall and defuse major risks and improve law enforcement and judicial policies and measures.

He also stressed on deepening the comprehensive reform of political and legal work and consolidating the achievement made in the education campaign of officers of the front.

Party committees at all levels should study and resolve the prominent issues that restrain political and legal work in a timely manner and support political and legal organs to perform their duties in accordance with laws, Xi noted in the instruction.

Efforts should be made to provide a strong guarantee for advancing the ‘Peaceful China’ initiative and promoting the rule of law at a higher level, thus welcoming the 20th CPC National Congress with solid actions, he said.

The second five-year term of 68-year-old Xi as the CPC General Secretary, the central authority of power, will end this year.

He is widely expected to continue in the post for an unprecedented third term and perhaps for life after the once-in-five-year CPC Congress, scheduled to be held in the middle of this year, and re-appointed as president and head of the powerful Central Military Commission (CMC).

All his predecessors, including Hu Jintao who handed over the reins to Xi in 2012, retired after two terms in power as a widely-followed convention to encourage the new and collective leadership of the party.

A major constitutional amendment in 2018 removed the two-term limit for president to enable Xi to continue in the post.

Decks for Xi’s continuation as CPC General Secretary were cleared at the last year’s meeting of the party’s Plenum, a powerful conclave of the party, for his continuation in power, perhaps for life.

Politically, the meeting is regarded as significant for Xi, who in the last nine years of his tenure in power, has emerged as the most powerful leader after party founder Mao Zedong.

He was also made core leader of the party in 2016, a status enjoyed by Mao.

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