China’s ruling Communist Party has proposed to remove a constitutional clause that limits the presidential service to two terms in office. The clause, if done away with, would mean that Xi Jinping, who heads the party and the military might never have to retire.
The proposal is one of the many amendments to the country’s constitution which are to be passed by delegates in the annual meeting of China’s parliament. The meeting will be held next month, adding Xi’s political thought to the constitution, which has already been done last year. It will also set a legal framework for a super anti-corruption super-body and broadly reinforce the party’s tight grip on power.
The move invited criticism on social media with many comparing it to North Korea’s ruling dynasty, as a result, China swung into a propaganda push by blocking some articles and publishing pieces applauding the party.
State-run newspaper the Global Times said in an editorial that the change did not mean the president will stay in office for ever, though it did not offer much explanation either.
The party’s official People’s Daily reprinted a long article by Xinhua news agency saying most people supported the constitutional amendments, quoting a host of people offering support. “The broad part of officials and the masses say that they hoped this constitutional reform is passed,” it wrote.
The decision has also perturbed some in Hong Kong, where the authorities have been trying to rein in a pro-democracy movement.
“This move, which would allow for a single individual to amass and accumulate political power, means that China would again have a dictator as her head of state – Xi Jinping,” said Joshua Wong, one of the movement’s leaders.