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A Chinese Empire Reborn As Presidential Term Limits Removed

Photographer- Giulia Marchi:Bloomberg (China two term limits)

Xi Jinping casts his ballot during a vote to repeal presidential term limits on Sunday, March 11. (Lead Photo courtesy of Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg)

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).

A screen showing the result of a vote to repeal presidential term limits.Photographer- Giulia Marchi:Bloomberg

A screen showing the result of a vote to repeal presidential term limits. (Photo credit: Giulia Marchi/Bloomberg)

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).

 

How Xi Went From Feeding Pigs to Ruling China (Source: Bloomberg)

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.”


References

BBC News. (2012, October 08). How China is ruled: National People’s Congress. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-13908155

BBC News. (2018, February 25). Why Chinas proposal was long expected. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-43189540

BBC News. (2018, February 25). Profile: China’s President Xi Jinping. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-11551399

BBC News. (2018, February 27). China’s Xi Jinping: Extending president’s rule would be farce, says critic. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-43212839#sa-link_location=story-body&intlink_from_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.com%2Fnews%2Fworld-asia-china-43361276&intlink_ts=1520814476468-sa

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

Bloomberg News. (2018, March 11). China Scraps President Term Limits. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-11/china-ties-future-to-xi-as-congress-scraps-president-term-limits

Griffiths, J. (2018, March 11). Hong Kong elects new lawmakers as city faces decades of Xi Jinping rule. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/10/asia/hong-kong-vote-xi-jinping-china-intl/index.html

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

McDonell, S. (2017, July 17). Why China censors banned Winnie the Pooh. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-china-blog-40627855

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