News analysis

President Xi Jinping cements grip on power with title of People's Leader

Chinese President's hoarding of titles seen by analysts as a possible sign of insecurity

Chinese President Xi Jinping at a cultural performance in Macau last Dec 19, the eve of the 20th anniversary of the former Portuguese colony's return to China. Before Mr Xi, only Mao Zedong, who founded the People's Republic of China, had been called
Chinese President Xi Jinping at a cultural performance in Macau last Dec 19, the eve of the 20th anniversary of the former Portuguese colony's return to China. Before Mr Xi, only Mao Zedong, who founded the People's Republic of China, had been called "renmin lingxiu", or the "People's Leader". PHOTO: REUTERS

Chinese President Xi Jinping has many titles - general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and chairman of the Central Military Commission, for starters - with one more just added to the list.

This one - that of the "People's Leader" or "renmin lingxiu" in Chinese - harks back to the Mao Zedong era, prompting analysts to say it shows President Xi's firm grip on power despite a challenging past year.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 06, 2020, with the headline 'Xi cements grip on power with title of People's Leader'. Print Edition | Subscribe