An oath, and tears of joy in the Great Hall of the People


Xinhua News Agency reports: 

Xi Jinping was elected Chinese president by a unanimous vote Saturday morning at the ongoing session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC).

Thunderous applause reverberated in the Great Hall of the People when the election result was announced…

Immediately after the announcement of Xi’s second term, he “took a public oath of allegiance” to the Chinese constitution, newly amended to remove presidential term limits and enshrine Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.

The swearing ritual was rather Western — Xi raised his right fist and placed his left hand on a bound copy of the constitution — but the rest of the day’s pomp and ceremony seemed more North Korean in style:

  • “Not cult-y at all: state broadcaster CCTV shows lawmakers weeping as Xi is elected today,” tweeted India Today correspondent Ananth Krishnan, with a short video clip showing legislators crying tears of joy as Xi’s second term is announced.
  • “People’s Daily front pages for the last four appointments/reappointments of president. Spot the difference this time,” tweeted Simon Rabinovitch of The Economist, with the image below:peeps daze
  • “The Great Helmsman (伟大掌舵者 or 舵手; wěidà zhǎngduòzhě or duòshǒu), a term of adoration not used since Mao’s time, is all over central state media today. For example, the People’s Daily has a prominent commentary titled “Helmsman of the country, leader of the people” (in Chinese), while the China Daily went with “Public supports helmsman in guiding China’s rejuvenation.”
  • The common people really want [Xi Jinping to] rule for life,” an emotional Du Meishuang 杜美霜, Chinese opera singer and NPC delegate, told Ryan McMorrow of the Associated Press. It looks like the common people might have their way.

For a sympathetic but not completely uncritical view on China’s future with the new great helmsman, read “Understanding China’s rise under Xi Jinping,” by former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, published on Sinocism.

For a summary of the other leadership appointments announced at the NPC over the last three days, I hand you over to my colleague Lucas.

I’ll be taking the next week off (until March 27) from the SupChina newsletter, and will leave you in his capable hands.