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AP PHOTOS: Xi cult of personality unseen in China since Mao

March 12, 2018

In this Friday, March 2, 2018, photo residents walk past a poster showing Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. Xi, poised to rule over China indefinitely, is at the center of the Communist Party’s most colorful efforts to build a cult of personality since the death of the founder of the People's Republic, Mao Zedong, in 1976. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

President Xi Jinping, poised to rule over China indefinitely, is at the center of the Communist Party’s most colorful efforts to build a cult of personality since the death of People’s Republic founder Mao Zedong in 1976.

Xi’s image dominates the front pages of state newspapers, hours of state television broadcasts, magazine covers, posters sold at markets, billboards around parks and signs posted along sidewalks.

On television, Xi is often depicted as being wildly adored by anyone from factory workers and farmers to space engineers and soldiers who typically applaud Xi for several minutes.

The effort has prompted memories of the upheaval of Mao’s 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution. Party spokespeople reject such talk, insisting Xi is the core of its seven-member Standing Committee, not a lone strongman.

On Sunday, China’s rubber-stamp legislature approved a constitutional amendment to abolish term limits on the presidency, allowing Xi to rule indefinitely.

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