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China approves constitutional reform that perpetuates Xi

Only two of the nearly 3,000 delegates voted against, and three abstained.

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China approves constitutional reform that perpetuates Xi

The Chinese legislature approved this Sunday by overwhelming majority, with only two votes against and three abstentions, constitutional reform that allows President Xi Jinping to continue indefinitely in power. A total of 2,958 delegates voted in favour.

Xi was first of nearly 3,000 delegates to deposit ir vote, like ors in a salmon-colored envelope, in a big red urn with country's coat of arms. A big applause toured room when President, General secretary of Communist Party and head of Central military commission rose from his seat to deposit ballot.

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When it was made public two weeks ago decision of party's Central committee to eliminate time limits, re were unusual protests on Chinese social networks before censorship was thoroughly used to eliminate m.

The reform, which eliminates limit of two five-year terms for head of State, puts an end to collective leadership era that Deng Xiaoping launched in 1982 to avoid excesses of Mao Zedong era. Xi, 64, should have left office when his second term expired in 2023, as his immediate predecessors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, did.

The Chinese government justifies measure with argument that head of State is part of triad of charges to front of country: presidency of Central Military Committee and General secretariat of Communist Party of China have no temporal limits. For this reason, Beijing argues, it makes sense to harmonize rules of permanence for three positions.

Advocates of reform also allege that Xi needs more time in command to launch ir economic reform projects and realize ir vision of a "Chinese dream" that makes country a great power by mid-century. While ors are skeptical and point to danger that a perpetual leader, without a real system of control over his power, can make mistakes that drag whole country.

"This reform should lead us to a modern China, to a society where rule of law prevails. Orwise, it would be going backwards, "explains professor and commentator Hu Xindou. "Many support long-term stay in power. But among intellectuals, re are people who can have different ideas, and many oppose that. "

Since its arrival in power in 2012, Xi has gradually extended its control over country, through an intense campaign against corruption that has departed from its positions to about 1.5 million officials. Restrictions on civil society and Internet have also increased. Human rights lawyers and activists have been sentenced to harsh prison sentences.

The reform also includes a number of clauses that reinforce Communist Party's leading role in country. One of m points out that this role is main feature of "Socialism with Chinese characteristics." Anor Inscribes "Xi Jinping's thought for a new Era" in constitution. A third opens way for creation of a new national supervisory Commission that increases vigilance over Chinese state officials and, within power hierarchy, will be above prosecution or courts.


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