Xi indefinitely: Communist Party looks at scraping presidential service limit

Monday, 26 Feb, 2018

Xi, who will be elected to his second five-year term as China's president in March, also doubles as the general secretary of the Communist Party, the organization's top post.

It will also add Xi's political thought to the constitution, already added to the party constitution a year ago, and set a legal framework for a super anti-corruption superbody, as well as more broadly strengthen the party's tight grip on power.

Xi also promised to build a "world-class" military by 2050, to challenge American influence around the world, from Latin America to the South China Sea.

Aged 69, Wang had reached the age at which top officials tend to retire. Xi Jinping is following Den Xiaoping ideology of collective model of leadership. Xi, who has been steadily consolidating power in his hands - by cracking down on corruption and removing some people from the CPC who were seen to be his potential successors in 2022 - has been seen as trying to remove that limit.

The comments were removed late on Sunday evening after Weibo, China's answer to Twitter, began blocking the search term "two term limit". Xi also has proposed turning the Communist Party into a more disciplined and efficient organization, which reclaims its leading role in all facets of society and the economy. The president has no say over the appointment of other members of the State Council or the party's all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee. That was a clear message by Xi that he had not yet decided on a successor.

Xi's name was written into the Chinese constitution in January, enshrining "Xi Jinping Thought" alongside Mao and Deng.

The move would allow President Xi to remain as leader after he is due to step down.

A mandated transition of power every 10 years was a core part of this system. The proposal also covers the vice president position. They will not nearly certainly be passed into law by the National People's Congress in March, as China's legislature always goes along with the proposals of party officials. The party has been laying the groundwork for Xi not to have to go.

The constitutional amendment on term limits would change the phrase limiting presidents to two terms to: "The term of office of the President and Vice-President of the People's Republic of China is the same as that of the National People's Congress".

The country's constitution was first adopted in 1982 and has not been amended since 2004.

"He will stay at his pleasure, for as long as he wants to and feels that he needs to do so", said Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute at the University of London. An editorial in China's state-run Global Times said the change did not mean "that the Chinese president will have a lifelong tenure".