Xi praises Marxism as a tool for China to 'win the future'

Chinese President Xi Jinping is praising Karl Marx as "the greatest thinker of modern times," calling his theories a tool for China to "win the future."

Xi's speech Friday at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing is one of a series of events in China marking the bicentennial of Marx's birth in 1818 in Germany.

Promoting Marx is seen in part as a way for Xi to strengthen ideological control and counter critics within the ruling Communist Party unhappy with his moves to consolidate power.

Marx's work became the inspiration for Communism, an ideology that aims for shared ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes.

China launched market reforms three decades ago but the party keeps an iron grip on power.