China ends term limit to let Xi stay in power

by Antonio Miles February 26, 2018, 9:14
China ends term limit to let Xi stay in power

The party's Central Committee has proposed deleting from the constitution the stipulation that a president "shall serve no more than two consecutive terms" of five years, the official Xinhua news agency said today.

China's current senior-most official, Xi Jinping, was elected to the post in 2013.

"This move, which would allow for a single individual to amass and accumulate political power, means that China would again have a dictator as her head of state - Xi Jinping", said Joshua Wong, one of the movement's leaders.

China's parliamentary body, the National People's Congress (NPC), will hold the first session of its 13th five-year term starting March 5, and the proposal for the constitutional amendment could be among matters to be discussed. But will the country's Parliament approve such a major change to the constitution?

During the 19th National Congress, no clear successor for Xi was appointed, leading to speculation that he planned to stay in power after his two terms in office.

It will also add Xi's political thought to the constitution, already added to the party constitution past year, and set a legal framework for a super anti-corruption superbody, as well as more broadly strengthen the party's tight grip on power.

"Maybe not, because to gain all these powers mostly indicates a desire to centralise and control everything at a time when lots of things can't be controlled", said Kerry Brown, director of the Lau China Institute, King's College in London.

Although position that really matters in a China where Communist Party is above structures of State is that of Secretary General of CCP.

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"He now will become China's most powerful man, perhaps a cult of personality somewhat like Mao Zedong", Gopalan added.

Zhang Lifan, a historian and political commentator, said the news was not unexpected, and it was hard to predict exactly how long Xi could stay on in power.

Joshua Wong, a pro-democracy supporter who hails from Hong Kong, said, "the era of Emperor Xi" is on its way. At some point, Xi could be given a party position which also enables him to stay on as long as he likes.

"The theoretical justification for removing tenure limits is that China requires a visionary, capable leader to see China through this multi-decade grand plan,"' Lam said.

Politburo members mentioned by analysts in connection with the central bank governor role include Xi's top economic policy adviser, Liu He, as well as the head of the banking regulator, Guo Shuqing, and Hubei provincial party chief Jiang Chaoliang.

Since his arrival in power, five years ago, Chinese president has accumulated enormous power.

During the upcoming NPC meeting, Xi's anti-corruption crusader Wang Qishan, who is 69 and retired from the PSC, is expected to be made vice president. Wang, in the end, didn't remain on the PSC-though there's still a chance that he may not actually retire.

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