by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
China’s Communist Party on Sunday moved closer to reinstituting the personality cult-like leadership under Mao Zedong by ending term limits for current supreme leader Xi Jinping.
The party announced Sunday the Chinese constitution will do away with the two, five-year term limit on Xi, the party secretary general, paving the way for him to become president for life.
The state-run Xinhua news agency said the requirement for China’s president and vice president to serve no more than two consecutive terms was removed from the constitution.
Removal of the term limit prompted criticism from China experts who regard the constitutional change as further destabilizing China.
“Xi is obviously behind the move to remove the current two-term limit,” said China expert Steven W. Mosher. “This will allow Xi, like Mao Zedong, to stay in power as long as he lives.”
Former State Department China expert John Tkacik said China’s powerful PLA supported Xi’s action based on worries about leadership succession in 2023, when Xi would have ended his second term.
“For the United States, the idea of an absolute dictator running the most powerful peer competitor nation-state-and soon to be the most powerful economy—with a single-minded obsession to ‘Make China Great Again’ who is going to be around for another 10 to 15 years must give us pause,” Tkacik said. “Fasten your seatbelts.”