Saturday, 23 June, 2018

China allows Xi Jinping to remain President for Life

Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds after the parliament passed a constitutional amendment lifting presidential term limit China approves Xi as president for life
Glenn Montgomery | 13 March, 2018, 11:30

Another person took to Twitter to express doubt that those people were even real: "fabricating opposition votes, rather than unanimous approval, is a tactic that the Communist Party of China took to show that it's more democratic than Kim Jong-un and Saddam". The delegates voted 2,958 in favour, with two opposed, three abstaining and one vote invalidated.

The constitutional amendment that was approved today abolished the two-term limit established for the presidents. Two-thirds must vote yes to pass. Of the almost 3,000 delegates to the congress, 2,958 voted in favor.

China's rubber-stamp parliament on Sunday, March 11, endorsed Xi's move to abolish rules limiting heads of state to 10 years in power. The vote further underscored the total dominance of Chinese politics possessed by the 64-year-old Xi, who serves simultaneously as the head of state, leader of the ruling Communist Party and commander of the powerful 1 million-member armed forces.

With the term limit gone, Xi can rule China until he retires, dies or is ousted.

"He just dug a huge hole for himself", said Li Datong, a former editor of the state-run China Youth Daily newspaper said to CNN. "It is a successful arrangement that we [the party] have explored and developed over a long period of time".

"We are increasingly confident that the key to China's path lies in upholding strong Party leadership and firmly following the leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core", it said in an editorial carried in both its Chinese- and English-language editions. What remains to be seen is how Xi's new strongman status shapes governance on the ground.

The results of the vote on a constitutional amendment lifting presidential term limits is seen on a giant screen
Image The result of the vote is seen on a giant screen

At a Communist Party Congress a year ago, his signature theory - "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics in a New Era" - was enshrined in China's constitution.

The U.S. -based group Human Rights in China said there were huge risks in allowing such a concentration of power. One would write into the constitution the term "community of common destiny", also sometimes referred to as the "community of shared future" (命运共同体), an amorphous concept that places China at the center of a harmonious global community of peace and prosperity, in implicit contrast with the United States' hegemonic, self-interested control of the present worldwide system (China Brief, February 26, 2018).

Shen Chunyao, a senior NPC official, said to media after the vote: "I don't think this issue exists".

Shen also highlighted what he called the legal, political and social foundations that China has built during the past several decades since it began its reform and opening up process, which followed the death of Mao. In other words, the Communist Party is the only party fit to rule China, and with Xi's political thought and goals written into the document as well, he is now unquestionably the country's paramount leader.

The CPC announced the formation of Xi's thought for the first time at its 19th National Congress in October, hailing it as "the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and an important component of the theoretical system of socialism with Chinese characteristics". And that is unsafe, he said. As the goal of the other 20 amendments is to underscore the centrality and importance of Xi Jinping to the Chinese system, this new requirement would, in effect, force the whole of China's enormous bureaucratic apparatus to swear personal loyalty to Xi Jinping.

But Sidney Rittenberg, 96, one of the few Americans to have personally known Mao, says China will never return to that era of isolation and violent political struggle. He started his second five-year term with no clear successor.

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