News of Xi Jinping’s Power Grab Causes International Stir

A proposal by the Central Committee of China's Communist Party opens the door for Xi Jinping to remain president indefinitely. (Image via  pixabay  /  CC0 1.0)
A proposal by the Central Committee of China's Communist Party opens the door for Xi Jinping to remain president indefinitely. (Image via pixabay / CC0 1.0)

Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, released the full text of a proposal by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to remove the clause stating that the President and Vice-President of the People’s Republic of China “shall serve no more than two consecutive terms” from the country’s Constitution. The release of the news caused a great stir, resulting in extensive coverage by the media both inside and outside of China.

In the announcement from February 25, Xinhua News reported that the CPC Central Committee’s proposal to amend the Constitution will mark the fifth time the current Chinese Constitution has been amended since it was implemented, with the last change taking place in 2004.

Ten words

In Article 14 of the proposal for the constitutional amendment, it shows that Paragraph 3 of Article 79 of the Constitution currently states:

This would be amended to read:

The announcement, combined with the third plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee held from February 26 to 28 in Beijing, is considered a landmark in Xi Jinping’s era. (Image: Thomas.fanghaenel / CC BY-SA 3.0)

The announcement, combined with the third plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee held from February 26 to 28 in Beijing, is considered a landmark in Xi Jinping’s era. (Image: Thomas.fanghaenel / CC BY-SA 3.0)

The difference of only 10 words means that the establishment of the system of term limits for the office of President and Vice President that has existed since Deng Xiaoping’s time would be invalidated.

The sudden announcement, combined with the third plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee held from February 26 to 28 in Beijing, is considered a landmark in Xi Jinping’s era. The news was widely reported by media around the world.

After the news was released, Reuters immediately issued a long report with the headline: China Sets Stage for Xi to Stay in Office Indefinitely.

In the report, it was stated that:

There have been rumors that Xi Jinping wants to break through the limitation of two terms so he can remain in office after his second term expires.

Does the CPC’s proposal to amend the constitution mean that Xi Jinping will assume the presidency indefinitely? The question remains to be answered.

Xi Jinping can hold office indefinitely. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Xi Jinping can hold office indefinitely. (Image: wikimedia / CC0 1.0)

Reaction from various media outlets

The New York Times: “China Moves to Let Xi Stay in Power by Abolishing Term Limit”

The Wall Street Journal: “China’s Communist Party Proposal Sets Stage for Xi to Hold On to Power”

Fox News: China’s Communist Party Paves Way for Xi Jinping to Extend Rule Beyond Terms

CNN: China to Drop Presidential Term LimitsClearing Way for Xi Jinping to Stay On”

Time Weekly: “Proposal to Scrap China’s Term Limits Could Allow President Xi Jinping to Stay in Office”

British Reuters: “China Sets the Stage for Xi to Stay in Office Indefinitely

News Tribune: “Move to Extend Chinese Leader’s Role Fuels Business Anxiety

France 24: “The New MaoChina to Lift Term Limits for President Xi Jinping

Japan Asahi Shimbun: “China’s Top Paper Says Reform Does Not Mean LifeLong Presidency

The Associated Press quoted Hu Xingdou, a Beijing political commentator, as saying:

He went on to say that:

While reporting extensively on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s power grab, the world’s media also noted U.S. President Trump’s reaction to the news during remarks at a Republican Party fundraiser at his Mar-a-Lago resort where he said:

It’s not totally clear whether the President was half-joking or not, as it was behind closed doors. (CNN obtained an audio recording of his remarks.) However, U.S. Representative Ro Khanna, a Democrat, said on Twitter that:

Translated by Chua BC

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