- Last Updated: Wednesday, 07 March 2018 09:56
-by Gwynne Dyer
Last Monday the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee approved a proposal that the country’s president no longer be limited to two five-year terms of office. On Thursday the National People’s Congress will rubber-stamp the change. And that will be the end of three decades of consensus-seeking collective leadership in the CCP. The god-king model is back.
President Xi Jinping has spent his first five-year term eliminating all his powerful rivals (generally on corruption charges), and now his victory is being enshrined by a change in the constitution.
The change does not mean “that the Chinese president will have a lifelong tenure,” said an editorial in the state-owned Global Times. But the paper also quoted Su Wei, a prominent Communist Party intellectual, who said that China needed a “stable, strong, and consistent leadership” from 2020-2035. No need to wonder who that might be, although Xi Jinping would be 82 by 2035.
Shades of Mugabe, I hear you thinking, although Xi commands a country around a thousand times richer than Zimbabwe. He is now effectively president-for-life, or at least until things get so bad that the people around him decide they have to overthrow him, as Mugabe’s cronies eventually did. And although Xi obviously thinks being president-for-life is a good idea, it is not.