WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Chinese President Xi Jinping could possibly remain as the nation’s president indefinitely.
- China’s National People’s Congress agreed on a plan to eliminate presidential term limits, paving the way for Xi Jinping to stay in power as long as he wishes.
- Though the media said that the constitutional amendments had “won the hearts of the people,” there’s also public concern that the nation will go back to the despotic politics of the past.
The symbolic amendment, with 2,958 in favor out of 2,964 delegates, came two weeks after Communist Party-controlled media published the proposal.
This only proves that Xi plans to remain in power beyond the end of his second term, in 2023. This put the nation back to a one-man rule era.
“It means that Xi is now unquestionably a Leninist strongman,” Steve Tsang, director of the China Institute at SOAS University of London said. “Xi, unlike his predecessor, is not first among equals but “lord and master of them all.”
Li Datong, a former editor of state newspaper China Youth Daily said: “It’s a historic retrogression. Throughout history, only Chinese emperors and Mao Zedong had lifelong tenure until their deaths. And what came out of that was a disaster for the society and many painful lessons.”
“If the constitution of one nation can be amended by the most powerful person according to his or her will, the constitution is not a real constitution. The legacy of Deng Xiaoping’s efforts to avoid lifelong presidency have been abolished completely,” said He Weifang, a law professor at Peking University.
Mary Gallagher, director of the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan said: “Everyone expects that this will make Xi Jinping a stronger, more decisive leader, but it’s also possible that he will need to justify this change by maintaining his popularity.”
“If Xi is right, he will be more effective in getting his policies implemented,” Tsang added. “But if Xi gets it wrong on any major policy matter, God (or Marx) help China, for there will be no one else who can.”
Source: The Washington Post