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China parliament hands Xi Jinping historic third term as president

Xi Jinping has been handed a third term as Chinese president, capping a rise that has seen him become the country’s most powerful leader in generations.

Friday’s appointment by China’s parliament comes after Xi locked in another five years as head of the Communist Party (CCP) and the military — the two more significant leadership positions in Chinese politics — in October.

The parliament is also set to appoint Xi ally Li Qiang as the new premier.

Xi’s coronation sets him up to become modern China’s longest-serving president, and will mean Xi will rule well into his seventies — if no challenger emerges.

Adrian Geiges, co-author of “Xi Jinping: The Most Powerful Man in the World”, told the AFP news agency he did not think Xi was motivated by a desire for personal enrichment.

“That’s not his interest,” Geiges said. “He really has a vision about China, he wants to see China as the most powerful country in the world.”

READ MORE: China’s ‘two sessions’ and what is significant this year

But the beginning of his unprecedented third term leading China comes as the world’s second-largest economy faces major headwinds, from slowing growth and a troubled real estate sector to a declining birth rate.

Relations with the United States are also at a low not seen in decades, with the powers sparring over everything from human rights to trade and technology.

“We will see a China more assertive on the global stage, insisting its narrative to be accepted,” Steve Tsang, Director of the SOAS China Institute, told AFP.

“But it is also one that will focus on domestically making it less dependent on the rest of the world, and making the Communist Party the centrepiece of governance, rather than the Chinese Government,” he said.

READ MORE: China’s Xi slams US-led ‘suppression’ as Beijing warns of confrontation

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