According to the South China Morning Post, at least nine provincial party secretaries across China have recently lavished praise on Xi Jinping.

Lou Yangsheng, Henan province’s Party Secretary, said on June 22 that local officials should take Xi’s political theory as a “lifelong lesson” and called on their effective implementation of Xi’s instructions. 

He also published an article in a state-run newspaper, ‘Study Times’, to further show his favor for Xi’s policies.

Like Yangsheng, many other provincial party secretaries have shown their support for Xi via their reports or articles on Beijing’s mouthpieces outlets and called on the complete following of Xi’s instructions. 

They even called Xi “the man at the helm” and described his instructions as “compass,” “golden key,” and “fulcrum.”

Besides this public rhetoric in praise of Xi, officials across the country have taken other ways to show their support. 

The acclaim comes as the 20th National Congress is just three months away, and Xi will likely seek the unprecedented third term as the Party’s chief. 

This period is also considered a critical time for personnel arrangements. 

The provincial party secretaries are the potential candidates for the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party,  formally known as the Central Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China. This is the highest decision-making mechanism of the CCP with 25 members.

This type of praise for Xi once emerged before the 19th National Congress five years ago. 

However, such praise does not secure a promotion or even absolute protection. 

For example, Liu Shiyu, the China Securities Regulatory Commission’s chairman, once praised Xi for “saving the party, the army, and the country.”

Shiyu ended up being sacked in an anti-corruption investigation in 2019 and removed from his post. 

According to Gu Su, a Nanjing University political scientist, the senior officials’ praise is unusual for its timing ahead of the 20th Party Congress. 

Gu said, “At a critical moment they express their thoughts on Xi, which is the equivalent of expressing their loyalty to him.” 

He further added there had been “no such strong expression for an individual” for the party congress before Xi’s term, regardless of whether there was a change of leadership position. 

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