By Saurav Bhandary │Published: March 11, 2018
China’s legislative body, the National People’s Congress, has voted overwhelmingly to remove presidential term limits from its constitution on Sunday, according to the NPR News published on March 11, 2018 (Kuhn, 2018).
The communist party of China made an announcement about this proposed amendment on February, and “and there was never any doubt it would pass as parliament is packed with loyal party members who would not have opposed the proposal” (Blanchard & Shepherd, 2018).
According to the Reuters, “The limit of two five-year presidential terms was written into China’s constitution in 1982 after Mao’s death six years earlier by Deng Xiaoping, who recognized the dangers of one-man rule and the cult of personality after the chaos of the Cultural Revolution and instead espoused collective leadership” (Blanchard & Shepherd, 2018).
The Communist Party has dominated life in China for decades, and with this constitutional change gives President Xi Jinping “the right to remain in office indefinitely.”
Xi Jinping became president of China in 2012, and since then has become “a dominant figure in Chinese politics, the military and the business elite” (BBC News, 2018).
According to the BBC News, “The vote was widely regarded as a rubber-stamping exercise. Two delegates voted against the change and three abstained, out of 2,964 votes. China had imposed a two-term limit on its president since the 1990s” (McDonell, 2018).
This issue is not, however, without controversy. BBC News reports “there has been no national debate” as to whether or not the constitution should be altered to allow Xi Jinping to stay in power beyond two terms (McDonell, 2018). China’s internet censors “have been deleting critical comments across Chinese social media platforms”, and for that reason, people have “taken to using the cartoon character to represent Mr. Xi” (BBC News, 2018).
Last month, one government critic sent an open letter opposing the proposal made by China’s governing Communist Party (BBC News, 2018). In the letter he said ending the term limits would “sow the seeds of chaos”, adding, “It’s not like the whole country agrees with the amendment, but everyone has been silenced… We have to voice our opposition. It will be considered a farce in Chinese history in the future.”
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Blanchard, B., & Shepherd, C. (2018, March 11). China allows Xi to remain president indefinitely, tightening his… Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-parliament/china-allows-xi-to-remain-president-indefinitely-tightening-his-grip-on-power-idUSKCN1GN07E
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Jiang, S. (2018, March 11). China clears way for Xi Jinping to rule for life. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/11/asia/china-presidential-term-limits-intl/index.html
Kuhn, A. (2018, March 11). China Removes Presidential Term Limits. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2018/03/11/592700156/china-removes-presidential-term-limits
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McDonell, S. (2018, March 11). Chinas Xi allowed to remain president for life as term limits removed. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-43361276