China's growing cult of 'Emperor' Xi Jinping

  • Video report by ITV News China Correspondent Debi Edward

China's future now rests firmly in the hands of just one man - its leader Xi Jinping.

Following the brutal Cultural Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, China's leaders vowed never again to allow one person to rule the country.

But now many people are now calling Xi's presidency, which began in 2013, the "Era of Emperor Xi".

Having abolished time limits on presidential terms, it is believed that Xi - already the most powerful man in the county for a generation - could remain in charge for years to come.

One of millions of teenagers sent to work in the countryside during the Mao era, the cave in which Xi lived and worked has become a tourist attraction.

The village to which he moved is treated as a quasi political pilgrimage with thousands of Communist party members visiting it every year.

His time there doing manual labour and living on rations have been used to craft Xi's image as a man of the people.

It was there that the idea of "Xi Jinping thought", now officially enshrined in China's constitution, started to take hold.

Xi is portrayed as the embodiment of the socialist dream.

China's propaganda department has gone into overdrive in recent years for Xi, with his socialist principles being sold in a variety of ways to the public.

On the streets of Beijing posters with his face appear everywhere - he is the embodiment of the Chinese socialist dream.

But for Xi's critics, many believe their ability to dissent is slowly being eroded.

Some feel, with many of their peers already in jail, that they may have to ultimately leave the country.