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Xi before his speech at the party congress. Photo: Xinhua/Pang Xinglei via Getty Images

China’s Communist Party announced Sunday that it will eliminate term limits on the presidency, allowing Xi Jinping to serve indefinitely rather than step down in five years' time.

The big picture: Xi, 64, has set an incredibly ambitious foreign policy, and more firmly established China as a rival to U.S. influence around the world. At home, he has ruled as a strongman with no tolerance for dissent, and methodically removed nearly all checks on his power. Here’s how he has positioned himself as, essentially, China’s emperor for life.

Rise to — and consolidation of — power
  • October 2007: After 25 years in a series of government posts across four provinces, Xi, the son of a former high-ranking official who was purged from the party in the 1960s, is named to the Politburo standing committee.
  • March 2008: Xi becomes China’s vice president, and is expected to succeed president Hu Jintao.
  • March 2013: Xi replaces Hu as China’s president. He quickly sends signals that he will seek to expand China’s influence and centralize power in his own hands, including the unveiling of the Belt and Road initiative and the formation of a new National Security Commission.
  • April 2016: State media refers to Xi as commander in chief of China’s new Joint Operations Command, underlining his control over the military.
  • October 2016: Xi is named the party’s “core leader,” a title given to three previous Chinese leaders but not to Hu.
  • October 2017: At the Party Congress in Beijing, "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” is enshrined into the constitution, making Xi the first leader since Mao to be named in the constitution during his lifetime.
    • Xi also declined to name two younger officials to the standing committee, signaling he has no interest in grooming potential successors.
  • February 2018: The term limits decision brings to an end the transition process created to ensure stable transitions within the party, and suggests Xi plans to stay on long after his second term ends in 2023.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  2. World: Boris Johnson announces month-long lockdown in England — Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections.
  3. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  4. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.

North Carolina police pepper-spray protesters marching to the polls

Officers in North Carolina used pepper spray on protesters and arrested eight people at a get-out-the-vote rally at Alamance County’s courthouse Saturday during the final day of early voting, the City of Graham Police Department confirmed.

Driving the news: The peaceful "I Am Change" march to the polls was organized by Rev. Greg Drumwright, from the Citadel Church in Greensboro, N.C., and included a minute's silence for George Floyd. Melanie Mitchell told the News & Observer her daughters, age 5 and 11, were among those pepper-sprayed by police soon after.

6 hours ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.