China makes historic move, allows Xi Jinping to remain President indefinitely

Mar 12, 2018 16:44 IST
China makes historic move, allows Xi Jinping to remain President indefinitely

China's Parliament on March 11, 2018 removed 2-term limit of President, paving the way for President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely over the country.

The decision was taken at the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC). Out of 2963 delegates, 2958 voted "yes" to change the Constitution, while three abstained and two voted against.

The delegates voted using paper ballots, which they dropped inside red ballot boxes. The results were shown inside the Great Hall of the People.

Xi Jinping's Presidency to continue beyond 2023

• Xi Jinping, who is serving his second consecutive five-year term, will now continue beyond 2023.

• Xi was named as the President of China in 2012. His first five-year term as President came to an end in 2017.

• Apart from holding the position of President, Xi also serves as General Secretary of the Communist Party and the Chief of Central Military Commission, the overall military high-command.

• The president’s post is largely ceremonial in China, while the real power lies with the CPC General Secretary and Chief of the Military Commission. Both these posts do not impose term limits.

• As per the officials of the Communist Party, the move of the scrapping of the presidential term limits is aimed at bringing the office of the president in line with his other positions which have no term limits.

Return to the era of Mao Zedong

Some of the observors opine that the move renounces the system of systematic succession that was enacted by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1982 to prevent the return of the era of lifelong dictatorship that was epitomized by Mao Zedong, who laid the foundation for Communist China.

The turbulent 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution of dictator Mao Zedong infused chaos, famine and mass murder in the country.

It is feared that the indefinite rule of Xi Jinping will reinstate one-man rule in the country.


Impact on Indo-China relationship

Indian observers believe that Xi Jinping's continuation as President will have a larger role in impacting Indo-China relations, especially in the backdrop of 73-day-long Dokalam standoff of 2017 where Chinese troops tried to build a road to reach close to India’s north-eastern states.

Under the Presidency of Xi Jinping, China has also tried to build strong ties with India's neighbours such as its investment in projects like China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that navigates through PoK, projects in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives. All these projects elevate India’s strategic stakes.

Proposal made by Communist Party of China

The proposal regarding the scrapping of presidential term limit was made by Communist Party of China (CPC) on February 25, 2018 through amendments to China's Constitution.

It proposed that the President and the Vice-President shall not be constitutionally restricted to two consecutive terms in office. The amendment also inserted Xi’s personal political philosophy into the preamble of the constitution and phrasing that emphasizes the leadership of Communist Party.

The proposal was raised to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC).

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