Vastavam web: China’s largely rubber stamp parliament on Sunday passed a series of constitutional amendments, including one that removes presidential term limits, allowing President Xi Jinping to remain in office indefinitely.The announcement of the vote, witnessed by reporters in the Great Hall of the People, passed with two “no” votes and three abstentions among almost 3,000 delegates.
In the run up to the vote, critics on social media attacked the move and drew parallels to North Korea or suggested a Mao Zedong-type cult of personality was forming. But the government quickly mounted a propaganda push, blocking some articles and publishing pieces praising the party.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 limit of two five-year presidential terms was written into China’s constitution after Mao’s death in 1976 by Deng Xiaoping, who recognised the dangers of one-man rule and the cult of personality and instead espoused collective leadership.
The government has said lifting the term limits is about protecting the authority of the party with Xi at its centre. The party’s official People’s Daily has said this does not mean life-long terms.While the presidency is important, Xi’s positions as head of the party and head of the military are considered more important, and these titles are always given first by state media. With the passage of the amendment, now none of the posts have formal term limits.