Beijing March 10 2023: Xi Jinping secured a precedent-breaking third term as president of China on Friday during a parliamentary session in which he tightened his control of the world's second-largest economy as it emerges from a COVID slump and diplomatic challenges mount.
Nearly 3,000 members of China's rubber-stamp parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), voted unanimously in the Great Hall of the People for the 69-year-old Xi in an election in which there was no other candidate.
Xi has taken China on a more authoritarian path since assuming control a decade ago, and he extends his tenure for another five-year term amid increasingly adversarial relations with the U.S. and its allies over Taiwan, Beijing's backing of Russia, trade and human rights.
Domestically, China faces a challenging recovery from three years of Xi's zero-COVID policy, fragile confidence among consumers and businesses and weak demand for China's exports.
The economy grew just 3% last year, among its worst performances in decades. During the parliament session the government set a modest growth target for this year of just around 5%.
"In his third term, Xi will need to focus on economic revival," said Willy Lam, senior fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, a U.S. think tank.
"But if he continues with what he has been doing - tighter party and state control over the private sector and confrontation with the West, his prospects for success won't be encouraging."