Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during the closing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 20, 2018. / AFP / NICOLAS ASFOURI
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President Xi Jinping vowed Tuesday to protect "every inch" of China's territory while promoting "high-quality" economic growth and the resurgence of Chinese culture and creativity as he kicked off his second term, poised to rule indefinitely.Xi, China's most powerful leader in decades, sounded a strongly worded warning that appeared directed at anyone from advocates of independence in the southern Chinese city of Hong Kong to the government of self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its territory.Xi also invoked China's historical achievements in governance and culture and stressed the importance of national unity as it strove to reach new goals in poverty alleviation and economic development in coming years.This year's session has been dominated by the rubber-stamp body's historic move on March 11 to scrap a constitutional two-term limit on the presidency dating from 1982, enabling Xi to rule indefinitely.The broad strokes of what Xi plans to do with these expanded powers were laid down over the weekend as he moved to appoint his trusted allies into key positions that appear, in part, set to further sideline Li, officially China's No. 2 leader.
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