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China defends scraping of tenure limit for Xi, dismisses concerns of dictatorship

China's rubber-stamp parliament National People's Congress on Sunday abolished the decades-old practice of two-term limits for the president, paving way for President Xi to become China's leader-for-life.

By: PTI | Beijing |
March 11, 2018 10:08:30 pm
File photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping File photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping

China’s ruling Communist Party on Sunday justified scrapping of the two-term limit for President Xi Jinping, saying the historic decision is aimed at strengthening coordination among various power centres and dismissed as “ungrounded” concerns over the return of the Mao Zedong-era dictatorship.

China’s rubber-stamp parliament National People’s Congress (NPC) today abolished the decades-old practice of two-term limits for the president, paving way for President Xi to become China’s leader-for-life.

Addressing media soon after the NPC ratified the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) proposal to remove the term limit for President and Vice President, a Chinese official said the decision was taken to strengthen coordination between the party, the military and the country.

“It is an important measure to priorities the coordination between the party, the military and country”, said Shen Chunyao, Chairman of the Commission for Legislative Affairs of the NPC Standing Committee.

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He also claimed that the amendments which will literally ensure a life term rule of the 64-year-old Xi was worked out after reaching a “high level of consensus” both in the CPC and the country.

“Without clear political support from society and support of the current legal system, this will not happen. So, I don’t think there is a problem or a question about the amendment,” he said without elaborating.

Asked about the concerns of return to the Mao era dictatorship during which millions of people were killed in the Cultural Revolution, Shen said the “speculation has no basis”.

He quoted Xi’s speech that CPC’s practical experiences had shown it has the “ability to lead the social revolution and lead people to go through self-revolution”.

“Which party in the world can claim that they are able to conduct a self-revolution?” Shen asked.

He said the CPC which was established by Mao 90 years ago “faced countless obstacles, issues and conundrums”.

“They include healthy rotation of leadership at all levels in order to maintain vitality and stability of the country,” he said.

“After 40 years’ of reform and opening up we opened a new path for socialism with Chinese characteristics. We believe that in future we will continue with this and to and expand this path to discover even brighter future. Our objective is to be realised. I believe that your speculation is ungrounded and without basis”, he said.

On enshrining Xi’s ‘Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’ into the Constitution, Shen said its inclusion into China’s fundamental law “reflects the common aspiration of the entire Party and all Chinese people of various ethnic groups,”.

Xi’s thought is the latest achievement in adapting Marxism to the Chinese context and encapsulates the practical experience and collective wisdom of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the people, Shen said.

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