You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

Xi set to rule China for life as parliament scraps two term limit

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

China's one-party political landscape today changed as the country's rubber-stamp parliament ratified a historic constitutional amendment abolishing the two-term limit for Xi Jinping, paving the way for his continuation in power perhaps for life.

Set for his second five-year term as this month, 64-year-old Xi, the most in recent decades heading the ruling (CPC) and the military, will now be the first Chinese leader after the founder to remain in power lifelong.

The National People's (NPC) has kept its reputation as the rubber stamp parliament for its routine approval of CPC proposals by voting exactly to the official script.

The amendment removing the term limits for the and the vice was approved by the NPC with 2,958 in favour, two against and three abstentions, reported. The two votes of dissent were apparently has the official sanction to show semblance of diversity.

For today's vote, the NPC chose to follow paper ballot system instead of hand raising and electronic voting.

Xi stood up first at the of the People in to cast his paper ballot in a red box.

The first Constitution of was enacted in 1954. The current Constitution has been in place since 1982 and has undergone four amendments in 1988, 1993, 1999 and 2004.

The removal of the term limit was regarded as the biggest political change in the one-party system which remained in force in since 1949.

Ahead of the vote by deputies in the NPC, the seven member Standing Committee - the topmost body of the ruling - unanimously approved the amendment to abolish the presidential term limits.

The amendment effectively ended the collective leadership system followed by the CPC to avert a dictatorship emerging in otherwise a one-party state akin to the era of Mao which witnessed the most brutal events like Cultural Revolution resulting in the killings of millions of people.

Observers say the constitutional amendment in effective pays the way for China's transition from being one-party state to one leader state with Xi, described by some as an Emperor, to remain in power in the foreseeable future.

Xi, christened as "lingxiu" - a leader with highest prestige, is aggressively pushing Chinese military's modernisation to make the world's largest army a mightier force capable of winning modern wars.

The proposal of limitless tenure for Xi has sparked worldwide concerns specially in China's neighbourhood.

For India, observers say, Xi's continuation will have particular significance, especially in the backdrop of last year's 73-day-long Dokalam standoff where Chinese troops tried to build a road in the area claimed by to reach close to India's narrow corridor connecting North Eastern states.

Under Xi, has been pouring billions of dollars in India's neighbourhood in projects like China-Pakistan Economic Corridor traversing through PoK, connectivity projects in Nepal, and Maldives, raising strategic stakes for

Significantly, today's amendment also removed term-limits for the Vice


The inclusion of the Vice was notably aimed at reinforcing Xi's support base as his trusted lieutenant, (69), is tipped to take over the post despite a widely-followed convention by Chinese leaders to retire after 68 years.

Wang headed the dreaded anti-graft campaign carried out by Xi since he began his first term in 2013.

The NPC in the next few days is also set to ratify new name for all top government posts. The entire is set to change, including the entire cabinet.

Xi began his second five-year term as of the CPC and of the Central last year after the once-in-a-five-year of the party endorsed him for a second term. Two five-year tenures were permitted for top leaders of the party.

His predecessors - who was in power from 1993 to 2003 and Hu Jintao from 2003 to 2013 - stepped down as the of the party as well as the after widely followed rule as well as a convention of two terms to promote collective leadership system in the one-party state.

Xi, a princeling and son of a Vice Premier, who was the Vice under Hu took over all the three posts in 2013 and subsequently emerged as the most of after Mao with little or no resistance in the party.

The president's post is largely ceremonial while the real power rests with the CPC and of the Military Commission, the overall high-command of the military. But the is the only one with a formal limit of two terms - introduced by late paramount leader in 1982 to prevent another lifelong dictatorship after Mao's rule.

The NPC also endorsed another constitutional amendment to enshrine Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era into the country's Constitution.

This would make Xi the only leader after Mao and his predecessor Deng whose thoughts were written into the Constitution. It would place him above the rest of the leaders of the party.

There is eerie silence all over the country over the approval of the amendments, with Chinese censors aggressively removing anything remotely connected to the comments in the through the firewalls.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, March 11 2018. 15:35 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU