Amid celebrations of the centenary of the Communist Party government, Chinese President Xi Jinping has awarded medals to loyal party members and called for membership in Marxism.
Xi’s speech at a ceremony on Tuesday after a lavish celebration at Beijing’s Olympic Stadium on Monday night, which highlighted China’s rise to economic and political prominence following reforms enacted more than 40 years ago .
Despite triggering private industry, the ruling party has maintained tight control over political power, along with preferential policies over state-owned enterprises.
“All party comrades should have faith in Marxism and socialism with Chinese characteristics as purposes of their lives,” Xi said in his speech to the medal winners. The celebrations conclude with a commemoration on Thursday in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
During his nine years as party leader, 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 in the midst of the civil war.
Like Mao, Xi is not bound by terms of office and, at 68, will likely remain in office for years to come.
Despite repressing any signs of political opposition at home and promoting an anti-corruption campaign, it has advanced an increasingly assertive foreign policy that seeks to control the South China Sea, intimidate Taiwan into accepting control of Beijing and join Russia to challenge United States influence in international affairs.