Xi Jinping's RCEP initiative aims to challeng the US-dominated world order. Photo: Reuters / Axel Schmidt

For years commentary on Chinese politics has been abuzz with conjecture that Xi Jinping will flout a Chinese Communist Party custom that requires top leaders to step down by the age of 68. Ahead of the 19th Party Congress, set to be held as soon as October, or even possibly in late September it is rumored, media reports are revealing that the Party may officially downplay the retirement age at the gathering.

Nikkei Asian Review, citing sources close to high-level party discussions, reports that the CCP is expected to confirm there is no hard and fast rule on retirement age.

“The party’s view is that there is no definitive rule on retirement age,” according to person familiar with talks at the party’s core. “Compared to other world leaders, 68 is still young.”

Xi has also proposed reviving the Mao-era chairman post, previously abolished in 1982, according to the report, which speculated that holding such a post would mean Xi could stay on as long as he wished.

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