Xi reigns again

BEIJING – With pictures of ecstatic citizens standing in applause, tearful legislators and even a social media game, China’s propaganda drive has kicked into high gear following Xi Jinping’s unanimous reappointment as president.

Mr Xi’s face dominated the front pages of major Sunday newspapers, many carrying the same editorial from the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily using language once more associated with Mao Zedong to say he was a “leader loved and respected by the people” and “helmsman of the country”.

“The voyage of a great country cannot do without a helmsman,” the paper wrote.

There was never any doubt that the largely rubber-stamp parliament would not have re-elected Mr Xi as president on Saturday, especially following a constitutional amendment a week earlier which lifts presidential term limits, meaning Mr Xi can stay on indefinitely.

While the amendment was passed with just six dissenters — two no votes, three abstentions and one invalidated ballot — none of the roughly 3000 legislators voted against Xi, a point made repeatedly in state media coverage.

State television showed images from the floor in the Great Hall of the People of some legislators in tears after Xi swore an oath to the constitution after his re-election, a vote it described as a “solemn and sacred historic moment”.

In a moment of high political theatre, a copy of the constitution was carried onto the main stage by three members of the armed forces.

Other pictures on state media showed ordinary people standing in applause in front of television screens around the country at Mr Xi’s re-appointment.

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