China to Enshrine Xi Thought In State Constitution

President Xi Jinping’s political thought will be officially incorporated into the state constitution in what will be the country’s first constitutional amendment since 2004. Xi’s was formerly added to the party constitution at the 19th Party Congress last October, during which the party unanimously passed an amendment to enshrine “ on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” as one of its guiding principles. The move was widely seen as a further consolidation of Xi’s power, elevating him to a level that no other Chinese leader has held since Mao Zedong. South China Morning Post’s Jun Mai reports:

A closed-door meeting of the ruling Communist Party on Friday endorsed a proposal to include “Xi Jinping Thought”, the president’s political theory, in China’s , Xinhua reported.

The proposal – to be formally approved by the national legislature’s full session in March – would make Xi the first sitting Chinese leader to see his name in the constitution since Mao Zedong.

It follows revisions made in October at the party congress that saw Xi’s theory – Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era – enshrined in the party charter.

The South China Morning Post has reported that revisions to be discussed at the meeting were also likely to include the addition of former president Hu Jintao’s contribution to the Chinese Communist Party’s political theory, which was added to the party charter in 2007 but is yet to be included in the constitution. [Source]

The amendment will be accompanied by the creation of a National Supervision Commission, a country-wide anti-corruption body with sweeping investigative powers. The task force will be established under a national supervision law that is expected to be passed when the National People’s Congress convenes in March. Ben Blanchard, Christian Shepherd, and Philip Wen at Reuters report:

The meeting also stressed that a “centralized, unified, authoritative and highly effective” national supervision system should be set up to fight corruption throughout the state bureaucracy, Xinhua said.

Chinese legal scholars have said the country needs to amend its constitution before it can set up the new supervision commission to ensure there is a proper constitutional basis for its powers.

[…] Fighting deeply ingrained graft had been a key policy plank for Xi in his first term in office and that battle will take on a new hue with the setting up of the National Supervision Commission as he begins his second term.

Trial work has already begun for that commission, which is likely to be formally codified in law in March at a meeting of China’s largely rubber stamp parliament. [Source]

Analysts believe the National Supervision Commission will allow the state to extend its disciplinary powers to individuals outside the party system, James Griffiths at CNN reports:

In a recent report analyzing the proposed NSC framework, Amnesty warned it would “legalize a form of arbitrary detention and create a new extra-judicial system with far-reaching powers that has significant potential to infringe human rights.”

Most significantly, the NSC would replace the much-criticized shuanggui system — in which party members under investigation were held in secret prisons and subjected to abuse and torture — with a new “retention and custody,” or liuzhi, system. 

That system would apply not only to party members, but also to people working in state-owned companies, scientific research, education, healthcare and other public bodies, in what Nee described as a “very worrying” development.

The NSC is one of several new laws which “give the party and the government sweeping powers,” he said. [Source]

During a meeting in Beijing this week, Vice Premier Wang Yang urged United Front Work Department officials across the country to study and implement Xi’s thought. From Xinhua:

Wang, also member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, stressed that studying and implementing the spirit of the CPC congress was the core task of work.

Wang asked officials to combine the study of the Party congress spirit with the new concepts, thoughts and strategies of Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, on the united front work since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012.

“The study should also be combined with the new requirements on the united front work in the new era and its real work,” Wang said.

“The result of the study should be turned into high political consciousness, scientific thoughts and approaches, and strong motivation for work,” he said. [Source]

textbooks and the national college entrance exam will undergo revision to include Xi Jinping Thought as part of the official curriculum. From ECNS:

The thought will be fully included in the teaching plan to implement the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), read the plan that sets standards for high school teaching curriculum.

The plan, released by the Ministry of Education on its website on Tuesday, also said that students should understand the importance of the “Party’s leadership over every work.”

The inclusion is of great significance and necaessity as high school students are expected to be the main mainstay and backbone to accomplish the periodical goals set in the CPC national congress in 2035 and 2050, said Su Wei, a professor at the CPC Chongqing Committee’s Party School.

[…] Apart from changes on textbooks and teaching arrangements to include Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the thought will also be tested in gaokao, or national college entrance examination, said Su. [Source]

A number of universities have departments and study groups dedicated to the teaching of Xi’s ideology.