Today, 3,000 lawmakers of China’s legislature will start a two-week session in Beijing to formalise high level government appointments and officially approve the removal of constitutional term limits for President Xi Jinping.
The proposal has met rare domestic opposition from within the party and from the public at large. This is summed up in an open letter penned by high profile journalist, Li Datong, urging the delegates meeting today to vote against the proposal. In response, state media has denied the move necessarily means lifetime power for Xi.
Interestingly, Xi does not need the presidency to maintain influence. Real power lies in his other titles, General Secretary of the Party and Head of the Armed Forces. For Xi to hold all three posts now may well signal growing internal opposition to him within the party, necessitating a symbolic Mao-like move to quell dissent.
The proposal is likely to be approved by lawmakers, 70% of whom are party loyalists, within the next two weeks. However, watch for signs of political fallout from this decision over the next year and possibly more anti-corruption purges.
John is a Senior Analyst with an interest in Indo-Pacific geopolitics. Master of International Relations (Australian National University) graduate with study focus on the Indo-Pacific. Qualified lawyer (University of Auckland, NZ) with experience in post-colonial Pacific & NZ legal systems.