China set to lift limits on Xi's term

Illustration by Nilanjan Das

The Chinese Communist Party has proposed making a change to China's constitution to remove the current 10-year limit on the president's term in office, opening the door for Xi Jinping to continue his rule well beyond 2023, The Guardian reports.

"President Xi now controls all the economic, political and military power in China and is even more powerful than Mao", Johnny Lau Yui-siu, a political commentator, told RTHK, the public broadcasting service of Hong Kong. "So removal of the section of the clause about the presidency in the Constitution is serving the most important and fundamental national interest and the Party's historic mission".

Constitutional reform needs to be approved by parliament. which is stacked with members chosen for their loyalty to the party, meaning the reform will not be blocked.

It is first time in history that party is mentioned not only in preamble of Constitution, but also in its main body.

"For years, rumours have persisted that Xi Jinping wanted to stay in office past his term, but now we have direct proof", said Jude Blanchette, a Beijing-based expert on Chinese politics at the Conference Board research group.

At last year's party congress, Xi hailed a "new era" under his leadership and laid out his vision of a ruling party that serves as the vanguard for everything from defending national security to providing moral guidance to ordinary Chinese.

"The real power in China is in the general secretaryship".

China Poised to Eliminate Presidential Term Limits

Mao, the founder of Communist China and still held in god-like awe by many Chinese, died while still Communist Party chairman in 1976, having never retired.

Sunday's announcement on term limits came before the Central Committee was to begin a three-day meeting in Beijing on Monday to discuss major personnel appointments and other issues.

In a Sunday commentary on its WeChat account, state television said: "The people love the people's "lingxiu"!", above a picture of Xi being greeted by an adoring crowd in Sichuan province earlier this month.

"Since 2050 is a long time away, he will need to stay in power for as long as possible", said Dr Lam. Wang, 69, stepped down from a party position past year because of his age. Attention at the plenum will also likely focus on Xi's pick to lead the Financial Stability Development Committee, which was created previous year to tackle China's financial sector.

Wang Qishan, Xi's 69-year-old right-hand man who has directed China's aggressive anti-corruption campaign, remained faithful to the informal 68-year age limit and retired from the Politburo Standing Committee last October.

Its mandate has been characterized, abroad, by an increasingly prominent presence of China on global stage: Xi has presented itself as a defender of economic globalization and fight against climate change and has offered its country as an alternative to The isolationist tendencies of United States during era of Donald Trump.

"Hong Kong people are also anxious by Sunday's plans, as it was under Xi the biggest crackdown on any democracy movement in Hong Kong took place", Gopalan said.

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