Surprise: Xi Jinping remains president, top ally Wang Qishan makes comeback as vice-president

Of course, it was a unanimous decision.

By Tan Xing Qi | March 17, 2018

In what was nothing short of a unanimous decision, Chinese President Xi Jinping was re-elected for a second term at the fifth plenary session of the National People’s Congress (NPC).

No surprises

The result was not surprising though, given the recent news that the ruling Communist Party scrapped term limits for the country’s president and vice-president.

Xi Jinping can be China’s president until he dies. Technically.

New vice-president

The real news, however, was the election of former anti-corruption chief Wang Qishan as the country’s vice-president.

Don’t remember him? Watch this video.

(Psst, founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew once said that he liked to do business with Wang.)

Comeback

The 69-year-old, who is Xi’s top ally, stepped down from the apex of the Chinese leadership, the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) in 2017.

Wang Qishan, Xi Jinping’s key ally who met PM Lee in Sept. 2017, steps down from top leadership body

Talks of his revival had been brewing for awhile as observers speculated he could make his comeback during the NPC.

And came back he did.

He received a overwhelming support with 2,969 people voting to elect him as vice-president, with only one single opposition vote.

According to The Straits Times, Wang is expected to handle China’s foreign policy and in particular its relationship with the United States.

Interpretations

China going big with personalities can be read as borrowing the lens of how political economies are interpreted by the West, where it is frequently seen as one man calling the shots in the country (think Trump, Putin and Kim).

At the end of the day, China is still ruled by one Communist party. A multiple-person, shared responsibility leadership makes for an inefficient narrative and even reflects parochial attitudes in their case.

Modern times calls for modern understanding of what a new China is about moving forward.

The downside is that any shortcomings in China’s economy will be traced back to Xi, without anyone as prominent to take the fall or share in it.

Top photo from GREG BAKER/ AFP/ Getty Images

About Tan Xing Qi

In between episodes of Breaking Bad and The Sopranos, Xing Qi deals T-Shirts to unsuspecting Singaporeans through a roadside stall, which, ironically, is not a physical stall.

 

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