Beijing: China's Parliament has given its approval to President Xi Jinping's elevation as the "core leader", reinforcing his hold over all the organs of power, ahead of his second five-year tenure.
The 'core leader' status, that had been earlier been approved by the ruling Communist Party, puts 63-year-old Xi at par with party founder Mao Zedong, his successor and reformist leader Deng Xiaoping and elevates him to a higher status above others in the Communist Party of China's (CPC) collective leadership system.
China's top legislator Zhang Dejiang pledged further conformity to the CPC Central Committee with Xi as the 'core', state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.
National lawmakers should unite more closely "around the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping as the core," to develop the system of the people's congress and realise the dream of national rejuvenation, Zhang, the chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, said while delivering a work report of the NPC Standing Committee.
The endorsement of Xi as the core "reflects the will of all members of the Party, all members of the armed forces and all the people of China," Zhang told the nearly 3,000 NPC deputies gathered at the Great Hall of the People.
NPC is often referred by the foreign media as a rubber stamp parliament for routinely approving CPC's proposals.
The legislature, along with advisory body -- Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) -- are currently holding their annual sessions set to end on March 15.
Zhang's remarks of Xi being the "core leader" was echoed by Yu Zhengsheng, head of the CPPCC.
Yesterday, the top leadership of the military endorsed the 'core status' of Xi.
"The troops must resolutely safeguard the core and follow the leadership of the CPC,"Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) headed by Xi, said while taking part in a panel deliberation of the government work report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang at the annual session of the NPC.
CMC is the overall high command of the 2.3 million-strong People's Liberation Army (PLA).
Under the Chinese political system, armed forces function under the CPC.
The party last year conferred "core leader" status on Xi as he is set to complete his first five years of his 10-year tenure amid speculation that with his emergence as the most powerful leader heading the party, the military and the presidency, he could even go beyond the ten-year tenure, a time honoured convention of the CPC leadership.
The endorsement of his core leadership status comes ahead of this year's CPC Congress which will replace the seven-member Standing Committee headed by Xi which rules the country as well as other policy-making bodies of the party.
With only him and Premier Li to continue in the Standing Committee, Xi is expected to put his stamp of authority on the committees and consolidate his power base for his second tenure, starting later this year.