China abolishes presidential term limits


This Constitutional amendment paves the way for Xi Jinping to stay on as president until he dies, if he wishes to do so.

Xi's official titles are nice, but "core leader" of the party - which he was declared in late 2016 - puts Xi in historic company.

In the final ten years of Mao's reign, millions of Chinese people were murdered or died due to starvation under his infamous Cultural Revolution.

The ruling Communist Party announced the proposals on February 25 and, amid a backlash in some quarters, has justified the change as a necessity to align the presidency with Xi's two other, more powerful, posts - heads of the party and the military - that have no term limits.

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Voting by the National People's Congress' almost 3,000 hand-picked delegates began in the mid-afternoon, with Xi leading members of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) seven-member all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee in casting their votes. The constitutional change officially allows him to remain in office after the end of his second term in 2023.

Party apparatchiks have fallen over themselves to offer praise for the ascendant Xi at the ongoing parliament meeting in Beijing, but a delegate from Qinghai province - the birthplace of the Dalai Lama - may have outdone them all.

Chinese authorities have been unwilling to countenance criticism of the change, on Sunday going so far as to refuse to translate a reference in a question to the "Cultural Revolution", a period of murderous upheaval under Mao.

Xi's two predecessors each left office after two terms as China's leader.

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There has been no debate in Chinese media about the scrapping of presidential term limits but several critics did manage to send their concerns to some delegates.

Shen also highlighted what he called the legal, political and social foundations that China has built during the past several decades since it began its reform and opening up process, which followed the death of Mao.

In a letter to Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae last weekend, President Jinping said they understood the difficulty Papua New Guinea was going through and as a friend they wanted to help as much as possible and where ever they could.

The NPC was also expected to endorse another draft constitutional amendment to enshrine "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era" in the fundamental law. "Today's [vote] has clearly shown that the constitution is used as a political tool to rule the people [and reflect the top leader's political will]".

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