China officially ended presidential term limits which in effect means that the current President Xi Jinping can remain in power indefinitely. Inside Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, nearly 3,000 delegates to the National People’s Congress (NPC) today cast their ballots on a series of proposed amendments — including removing the restriction that had limited the presidency to two consecutive five-year terms.
Out of 2,964 ballots, just two delegates voted against the move and three abstained, suggesting minimal opposition to Xi’s push to rule for life. The amendments’ passage required two thirds of the vote.
President Xi Jinping has become a strong face in China’s politics. Apart from loyalty of party factions is also supported by the army and business class. Because of this, he is considered to be the most powerful leader after China’s revolutionary founder Mao Zedong. Hoardings of pictures of Xi Jinping can been seen throughout China and it has become common for official songs to use his official short name, ‘Papa Xi’.
The amendment also inserted Xi’s personal political philosophy into the preamble of the constitution and phrasing that emphasizes the leadership of the ruling Communist Party.
“Xi Jinping has presided over so many important projects such as economic reforms and the fight against corruption. There was a consensus that we supported him having more time to finish his work,” said Dou Yanli, a delegate from eastern Shandong province.
Activists fear that removing term limits may lead to a further tightening of already strict controls on media, civil society and religion, as Xi tries to impose his highly ideological vision of socialism on every aspect of society.