February 25, 2018
In an announcement that was already expected by the general public and largely a forgone conclusion, China’s Communist Party has officially cleared the way for President Xi Jinping to rule as emperor for life by announcing on Sunday that it intends to abolish a two-term constitutional limit on the presidency.
The change to the country’s constitution follows the decision during last October’s National People’s Congress to enshrine Xi’s name in the country’s constitution (see “Xi Could Rule For “Decades” As China’s New Leadership Team Unveiled”), making him the first living leader to be granted such an honor.
In addition, the Party’s appointments to the Politburo lacked a clear successor to Xi, another sign that he intends to seek a third term after the conclusion of his second term, which has only just begun.
As the NYT reports, citing local media, the Central Committee approved the amendments to the Constitution at a meeting last month. But the vague official announcement released at that time did not hint at the momentous expansion of Mr. Xi’s presidential power, which was kept secret until Sunday.
In another victory for Mr. Xi, the draft amendments to the Constitution would also add his trademark expression for his main ideas – “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” – into the preamble of the Constitution, as well as adding a nod to the ideological contributions of his predecessor, Mr. Hu.
The amendments are almost certain to be passed into law by the party-controlled legislature, the National People’s Congress, which holds its annual full session from March 5. The congress has never voted down a proposal from party leaders.
“Sunday’s move will make Mr. Xi much more powerful than he already was, and will dampen any remnants of resistance to his rule”, said Zhang Baohui,…