“I can now announce that the proposals to amend the constitution of the People’s Republic of China have passed.”
One belt… one ruler… one ruler? Chinese President Xi Jinping has removed the final obstacle to becoming China’s President for life. China’s National People’s Congress almost unanimously voted to amend the constitution and paved the way for President Xi to have term limits on the presidency removed.
Of the 2,962 ballots cast, 2,957 voted in favour of the change. Three delegates abstained while two other voted against Constitutional change.
There were two other amendments to the Constitution are expected to pass. One is the addition of “Xi Jinping” as a political philosophy and the second one is the creation of supervisory commissions which will be authorized to investigate party members and civil servants.
Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of China’s parliament, took the cue from U.S. President Donald Trump and said it was time to make China great again:
“The great dream of national rejuvenation encourages us to keep striving; the great era inspires us to forge ahead. Let us hold high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, thoroughly study and apply Xi Jinping Thought and realise the Chinese Dream.”
Sunday’s vote further strengthens President Xi’s ambition of becoming the world’s most powerful economy.
But not everyone is subscribing to Xi Jinping Thought.
Li Datong, a retired newspaper editor believes scrapping the two- term limits will lead the country to repeat the mistakes of the Mao era which plunged China into political turbulence:
“This could destroy China and the Chinese people. So I cannot stay silent. Jave to let them know that there are people against it, and do so publicly.
“What about holding a referendum? Dare they hold a referendum? Of course they don’t. I’m sorry, when I think about this, I can’t stop getting angry and saying bad words.”
Meanwhile political commentator Cary Huang criticized Xi’s attempt to become China’s “de facto monarch”:
“History has shown that many political leaders who sought lifelong service have not managed to realise their vision. Some have been deposed; others have been assassinated by political enemies.
“The stakes could not be any higher; renewed hostility among political rivals and the repression of political dissent puts China at risk of repeating the tragedies of the Mao era.”
Since assuming power in 2012, Xi’s crackdown on corrupt practices has netted him a remarkable list of enemies. Xi has employed an anti-corruption campaign that has taken down formidable rivals including generals and influential people from the military.
President Xi’s vision certainly shows where he wants to take China. The question remains if his one-man rule is the best way to get there.