The Communist Party elevated President Xi Jinping's political status on Thursday, referring to him as the "core" of its leadership ahead of the party's five-yearly congress late next year.
The higher status gives Xi greater influence over reshuffles of the top ranks at the gathering.
A communique released on Thursday after the end of the Central Committee's four-day sixth plenum in Beijing also said the party's national congress would be held "in the second half of 2017 in Beijing", marking the start of the formal preparations for the meeting.
In addition, the plenum adopted two new sets of regulations governing the conduct of senior cadres – guiding principles for political life within the party "under new circumstances", and revisions to trial regulations on party internal supervision.
The communique said the party called on all members to "closely unite around [its] Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core", state-run Xinhua reported.
Analysts said the "core of the leadership" often represented the power of final approval or veto.
The term "core" was used by late leader Deng Xiaoping in 1989 to describe Mao Zedong, himself and his successor Jiang Zemin.