China scraps presidential term limit, enabling Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely

12 Marcha, 2018, 01:33 | Author: Earnest Bishop
  • Framed portraits of German philosopher Karl Marx Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin and China’s late leaders Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping hang above a screen showing President Xi Jinping

The legislation easily secured the two-thirds of votes needed to pass in the legislature, which has never voted down a Communist Party diktat in its half-century of existence.

Predictably, Chinese state media is trumpeting Xi's move.

China on Sunday removed term limits from its constitution, paving the way for Xi Jinping to remain President for as long as possible.

Over the years, Xi has come to hold a vice-like grip on China. Xi, unlike his predecessor, is not first among equals but "lord and master of them all".

"This marks the biggest regression in China's legal system since the reform and opening-up era of the 1980s", said Zhang Lifan, an independent Beijing-based political commentator.

"He just dug a huge hole for himself", said Li Datong, a former editor of the state-run China Youth Daily newspaper and one of the few voices of open opposition. It would place him above the rest of the leaders of the party.

"It is an important measure to priorities the coordination between the party, the military and the country", said Shen Chunyao, Chairman of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee.

Until now, presidents had been limited to two consecutive terms.

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Trump also has spoken approvingly of Xi's plan to consolidate power, although it was not clear whether he was serious.

Xi took office in March 2013.

"I think that during the past five years, he has been carrying out a soft coup, including making the Politburo a mere figurehead", Chinese political commentator Wu Qiang said, referring to the 25-member Communist Party body one level under the ruling council.

Party media have since amped up the hagiography, casting Xi as the father of the nation and the man uniquely equipped to lead. "In a country like China, power corruption could go even further".

The constitutional amendment bill was ratified by an overwhelming support from the delegates of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's parliament.

"That doesn't bode well for hard reforms ahead: Will the CCP be able to raise the retirement age?"

He added: "The past five years since Xi Jinping became president have seen the most severe and widespread crackdown on human rights since the Tiananmen massacre of 1989".

Tsang, of SOAS, said the constitutional change signaled a worrying trend: the elimination of dissenting views in policymaking. Now, the future of largest populous in the country depends upon the Xi Jinping, who has emerged as the powerful leader in China in recent years.

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