Friday, 22 June, 2018

China's Xi allowed to remain 'president for life

China approves Xi as president for life China abolishes presidential term limits, allowing Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely
Gerardo Duncan | 13 March, 2018, 11:30

Nearly 3000 delegates voted to make proposed amendments to the constitution, one of which included the removal of the term limit to the presidency.

Communist Party leaders argue changes to Article 79 of the constitution are necessary because other key positions Xi holds as party chairman and head of its Central Military Commission have no term limits.

Indeed, Mr. Xi appears to have ended a system that ensured the nonviolent transition of power in recent decades.

Tsang said this is a signal that nobody will dare tell Xi whether a policy is wise or not and, without anyone challenging him, even bad decisions will be implemented with the same rigor as good ones.

Since the State Council runs China's government ministries, the proposed amendment confirms previous reports that the new NSC will be empowered to supervise government workers in addition to Communist Party members, a dramatic expansion in the scope of Xi's anticorruption campaign, which had, until now, targeted only Party members. As the objective of the other 20 amendments is to underscore the centrality and importance of Xi Jinping to the Chinese system, this new requirement would, in effect, force the whole of China's enormous bureaucratic apparatus to swear personal loyalty to Xi Jinping.

The U.S. -based group Human Rights in China said there were huge risks in allowing such a concentration of power.

"The greatest strength of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics is the leadership of the CPC", said Cao Qingyao, an NPC deputy and a district Party chief of Chongqing Municipality.

On Sunday, those who voted for the changes defended them as necessary. The amendment also lifts term limits for the vice presidency.

Mao did away with the President's post in 1975 only to for it be revived by Deng in 1982 with a two-term cap after his death.

"Without clear political support from society and support of the current legal system, this would not happen", he said.

"In its more than 90 years of history, the Chinese Communist Party has overcome a series of hardships and a wide range of big problems, questions and difficulties", Shen said. "Your speculations actually have no basis of existence". It will be similar to what happened with Mao's Cultural Revolution, which was put in place from 1966 to 1976. There were just two people against it, three abstentions and one invalid vote.

Xi casts his ballot during a vote on a constitutional amendment lifting presidential term limits, at the third plenary session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

Mr. Xi has been accused of turning China into a "neo-totalitarian state".

Though the power grab has earned Xi comparisons to such leaders as Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russia's Vladimir Putin, his vision for China is singular - and will have an impact well beyond China's power. In China, it has won comparisons to "Eastern Depot", a secret police apparatus with vast powers used by Ming dynasty emperors to eliminate dissent.

At the same time, he gained a measure of popularity among Chinese people through a relentless crackdown on corruption that has punished more than a million party officials, and sidelined potential rivals. The National Supervision Committee will stand alongside the CCDI, and extend the reach of the country's graft-busters.

But, he added, "there's no doubt that we will also severely punish corrupted people who refuse to restrain themselves and behave".

The constitution has been altered to allow Xi Jinping to remain as president beyond two terms and they would not have gone to this much trouble if that was not exactly what he meant to do.

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