Historic vote cements Xi's extended rule

Historic vote cements Xi's extended rule

Historic vote cements Xi's extended rule

In the short space of two weeks, China has announced and on now voted with near unanimous approval to amend the country's constitution and give party state's powerful leader Xi Jinping a mandate to stay in office indefinitely.

Experts have predicted that China's single-party rule can now be converted into the one-man rule.

But the vote sparked some negative comments on Twitter-like Weibo, with one user defying censors to write "we're over" while another said "we are back in the Qing Dynasty", referring to China's last imperial era.

"As for the assumptions, conjecture and stretched situations in your question, I think that does not exist", Shen said.

The two-consecutive-term limit to China's presidency was put in place by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1982 "in order to avoid the kind of chaos and tumult that can sometimes happen when you have a single authoritarian leader, as China had with Mao Zedong", Elizabeth Economy of the Council on Foreign Relations told NPR's All Things Considered.

Xi, who was given a second term as the party's general secretary at the five-yearly party congress in October, has amassed seemingly unchecked power and a level of officially stoked adulation unseen since Communist China's founder Mao. Asked about the issue during a Republican donors meeting last week, Trump was quoted as saying: "President for life. Maybe we'll have to give that a shot some day".

Edward Yiu a Hong Kong pro-democracy candidate in today’s elections poses for
Edward Yiu a Hong Kong pro-democracy candidate in today’s elections poses for

The party later disclosed that Xi had presided over a meeting of the Politburo in September during which the leadership made a decision to revise the constitution.

Most countries have limits on presidential terms. Xi's 10-year term is supposed to end in 2023. If the next Communist Party congress in 2022 effectively abolishes the customary retirement age of 68 for senior officials, Xi could rule the party and state into the mid-2030s, when he would be well into his 80s. It is key that his centralization of power is seen to be for the greater good - if not, the focus on corruption will be viewed as a cynical power grab. As if this were not enough, anti-corruption agency, led by Xi Jinping's closest ally, Weng Qi Xian, is also elevated to constitutional rank, placing it above many or control bodies.

Benedict Rogers, East Asia team leader at religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said the vote is an "extremely significant development, which will in all likelihood mean a continuing crackdown on human rights generally, and religious freedom in particular".

Indeed, across the world in recent years there has been a rise in populist politics, which goes hand in hand with the rise of nationalism, religious fanaticism and xenophobia, which at its sharpest slips into the politics of supremacy and fascism. In this context, allusion to a greater opening of China that Prime Minister Li Keqiang has included in his annual economic report to Communist Party congress this weekend sounds empty after silence in what is certainly more important to China's future: constitutional amendments. Let them call you nativists.

Neither Bannon nor Le Pen are in power now.

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