Vastavam web: China’s plan for President Xi Jinping to remain in office indefinitely has sparked social media opposition, drawing comparisons to North Korea’s ruling dynasty and charges of creating a dictator by a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist.The social media reaction late on Sunday quickly saw China swing into a concerted propaganda push by Monday, blocking some articles and publishing pieces praising the party.
The ruling Communist Party on Sunday proposed to remove a constitutional clause limiting presidential service to just two terms in office, meaning Xi, who also heads the party and the military, might never have to retire.It will also add Xi’s political thought to the constitution, already added to the party constitution last year, and set a legal framework for a super anti-corruption superbody, as well as more broadly strengthen the party’s tight grip on power.
But it seems the party will have its work cut out trying to convince some in China, where Xi is actually very popular thanks in part to his war on graft, that the move will not end up giving Xi too much power.The comments were removed late on Sunday evening after Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter, began blocking the search term “two term limit”.
Widely read state-run newspaper the Global Times, in an editorial carried online late Sunday and published on Monday, said the change did not mean the president will stay in office for ever, though it did not offer much explanation.The party’s official People’s Daily reprinted a long article by Xinhua news agency saying most people supported the constitutional amendments, quoting a variety of people proffering support.
“The broad part of officials and the masses say that they hoped this constitutional reform is passed,” it wrote.The WeChat account of the People’s Daily, after initially posting a flurry of positive comments under its article, then disabled the comments section completely late on Sunday. It was back again by Monday, complete with remarks lauding the party.In one confusing moment for many Chinese, Xinhua initially only reported the news in English.
The decision has also unsettled some in the Chinese territory of Hong Kong, where authorities have been trying to rein in a pro-democracy movement.