Chinese President Xi Jinping seen during a Communist Party congress.

Chinese President Xi Jinping seen during a Communist Party congress. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping formally secured a third term as his country’s paramount leader on Sunday, an unprecedented move that secures his power over the ruling Communist Party and paints him as China’s most notable strongman since Mao Zedong.

Xi was unanimously chosen to serve a third five-year term as president. However, this may turn out to be nothing more than a formality, as term limits were removed from China’s constitution in 2018. While there are technically mandatory retirement ages enshrined in the law, Xi’s third term puts him in a position where he may potentially move to remain president for life, Politico reported.

Xi also named a seven-member committee to the Communist Party’s inner circle, and The Associated Press reported that this group was made up of Xi loyalists. These appointments also followed Premier Li Keqiang, the second-in-command of the party, being ousted Saturday in a series of apparent political purges.

This even included Xi’s predecessor, former President Hu Jintao, who was seen on video being ushered out of the Communist Party congressional ceremony. He had been sitting directly next to Xi, and it is unclear why he was removed from the room.

Xi continued to fill the vacant government positions with those he viewed as loyal to him.

While Xi has mostly cracked down on dissidents, there have been some rare public protests to his show of power in recent days. This includes a visible anti-Xi banner in Beijing that made headlines around the world.

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