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.
The National People’s Congress’ almost 3,000 hand-picked delegates endorsed the constitutional amendment, voting 2,958 in favor with two opposed, three abstaining and one vote invalidated.
There were two votes against, three abstentions and one ballot was invalidated.
And the endorsement came as no surprise, given the Communist Party’s iron grip on the legislature.
Therefore, and for moment at least, rest of world should not expect major changes in China’s economic model to be in staunch fight against foreign competition wher it is on role that State continues to play in production of goods and services.
The constitutional change officially allows him to remain in office after the end of his second term in 2023.
The vote took place at the Great Hall of the People on iconic Tiananmen Square, where nearly 30 years ago student-led pro-democracy protests were crushed by the Communist regime.
“Everyone expects that this will make Xi Jinping a stronger, more decisive leader, but it’s also possible that he will need to justify this change by maintaining his popularity”, said Mary Gallagher, director of the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies at the University of MI. Two five-year tenures were permitted for top leaders of the party.
“Xi can now compel China’s system to focus on ambitious reform initiatives that require long-term efforts”, wrote analysts Evan Medeiros and Michael Hirson of research company Eurasia Group in a recent client note. But Cary Huang, a columnist with the South China Morning Post, warns that Xi has expanded his crackdown to include political dissent, citing a “broader crusade to root out anyone disloyal or who fails to comply with his orders”.
Wang Guosheng, Qinghai’s Communist Party boss, said commoners in the province viewed Xi as a “living Bodhisattva”, someone on the path to become a Buddha. Apart from loyalty of party factions is also supported by the army and business class.
China watchers say the brazen step toward life-long tenure for Xi demonstrates his character.
When China’s ruling Communist Party proposed the amendment in February, it was met with criticism from various quarters.
Xi is the first Chinese leader to have been born after 1949, when Mao’s Communist forces took over following a protracted civil war.
The party then sought proposals and opinions, culminating in a decision in late January to introduce constitutional amendments at the NPC. “Such concern is invalid”, Shen, the NPC spokesman, said.
Another constitutional amendment saw the establishment of a new National Supervision Commission, which would extend Xi’s anti-graft campaign from Communist Party members to all public employees. “President for life. No, he’s great”, Trump said, referring to Xi.
“The constitutional amendment item has passed”, an announcer declared to polite applause, the AP reported. “He would be unhappy if he got anything less than 98-99 per cent”, he said.
“If Xi is right, he will be more effective in getting his policies implemented”, Tsang continued.