China justifies removing term limit for Xi’s presidency

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Beijing, March 4 (IANS) China on Sunday said the decision to scrap two-term limit for President Xi Jinping is essential for upholding the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

The party’s powerful Central Committee last month passed a proposal to remove the two-term cap on Chinese presidency — a move that has startled the world.

China’s revered leader Deng Xiaoping in 1980 had restricted the presidential five-year tenure to two to avoid the perils which the cult around Mao Zedong had brought.

It is the same restriction which the National Party Congress (NPC), China’s rubber-stamp parliament, will lift by amending the clause in the Constitution when it convenes the two-week annual session at the cavernous Great Hall in front of the Tiananmen Square on Monday.

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The move will allow Xi to rule the world’s most populous country till the time he does not retire or die. The move has shocked and worried many at home and abroad.

On the eve of China’s parliament session, its spokesperson Zhang Yesui said the constitution of the CPC does not stipulate that general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairperson of the Central Military Commission (CMC) of the CPC shall not serve more than two consecutive terms.

Xi is the General Secretary of the Communist Party and the Chairman of the CMC.

The nation’s Constitution has no such stipulation on chairperson of the CMC of the PRC either, he added.

China’s Constitution has been tweaked four times since its enactment in 1954.

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The Communist Party’s constitution may well be considered above that of the country.

“To make the constitutional provision concerning the President conform with the aforementioned practices is conducive to safeguarding the authority and the centralised and unified leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core, and to strengthening and improving China’s leadership system,” Zhang said.

“Upholding the leadership of the Communist Party of China and reflecting the will of the people should be the principles for amending the Constitution,” Zhang said at a press conference.

Last year, at the Communist Party’s once in a five year meet, Xi began his second five-term without announcing his successor, a convention his predecessor Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin had followed.

The move was widely speculated as Xi’s desire to rule the country of 1.4 billion beyond the customary 10 years.

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It holds true as the 2,980 deputies of the NPC will unanimously approve the amendment pushed by the Communist Party.

Xi is China’s most powerful leader since Mao. He has been conferred with the status of “core”, an honorific given only to Mao and Deng.

–IANS

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