Xi To Rule For Life As China's Parliament Abolishes Presidential Term Limits

Xi poised to become China's leader for life

Xi Jinping set to become China's leader for life, era of collective leadership to go

China's largely ceremonial parliament on Sunday overwhelmingly endorsed a controversial change to the country's constitution, paving the way for President Xi Jinping to stay in power indefinitely.

Under Xi's attempt to shore up the legitimacy of the party-state, the constitution now has the party's leading role written into the document's main body, declaring the party's leadership as the "most fundamental feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics".

The amendment upends a system enacted by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1982 to prevent a return to the bloody excesses of a lifelong dictatorship typified by Mao Zedong.

China's almost 3,000 law makers are set to vote on Sunday, on proposed changes to the constitution, which will allow President Xi Jinping to serve indefinitely.

Beijing has hit out at the "shameless" and "malicious" western "naysayers" who have questioned Xi Jinping's historic power grab, a move that sets the Communist party leader up to rule China for life.

Xi's 10-year term is supposed to end in 2023.

Aside from value judgments about a lack of rule of law in the Asian country, as well as the authoritarian nature of the Chinese regime, Xi's elevation as the most powerful ruler after Communist China's founder Mao Zedong will pose two risks.

The party loyalists who attend the annual session of parliament have said the decision is popular with ordinary Chinese people and asserted that China was lucky to have a leader of President Xi's calibre.

The official China Daily reiterated a point previously made by the party's People's Daily that the amendment did not "imply lifetime tenure for any leader".

Only two "no" votes were cast, with three abstentions, from nearly 3,000 delegates.

"It is an important measure to priorities the coordination between the party, the military and country, said Shen Chunyao, Chairman of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee". By putting his authority on every matter at the same time, Medeiros and Hirson said, Xi "is very vulnerable if he has one or many policy failures, and the knives are likely to come out quickly in such a scenario".

With the term limit gone, Xi can rule China until he retires, dies or is ousted.

In China, there was opposition to the change.

China has cracked down on online criticism of Xi's power play, even as shares of companies with "king" or "emperor" in their names surged after the amendment was unveiled.

"This is the urgent wish of the common people", Ju Xiuqin, a delegate from northeastern Heilongjiang province, told AFP, echoing party claims that the amendment had the unanimous support of "the masses".

Chinese officialdom says the expansion of Xi's power is driven by the need to ensure stability for the country, which faces huge economic, social and geopolitical challenges.

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