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Published On: Wed, Mar 14th, 2018

China’s Xi to stay on indefinitely, communist party and military oligarchy stopped pretending

Christof Lehmann  (nsnbc) : Within two weeks the Communist Party and military oligarchy in the People’s Republic of China announced the not surprisingly near unanimous approval to amend the country’s Constitution and to give “leader” Xi Jinping a mandate to stay in office indefinitely.

Xi Jinping in 2014 (archives).

Xi Jinping in 2014 (archives).

The move that effectively turns the “People’s Republic of China” into a corporatist oligarchy with a “supreme leader” at its top was in the making for a while, with prominent and especially not-so-prominent critics including academics being intimidated, bused to other provinces, detained, warned to stay silent, having their social media accounts blocked or bombarded with critical comments posted by Beijing’s cyber-warfare trolls.

On Sunday, March 11, 2018, the controversial decision to scrap the two-term limit on the office of the president of the People’s Republic was approved along with 20 other sweeping changes. The amendments passed smoothly in the rubber-stamp National People’s Congress (NPC) with only five dissenting, fig-leaf-like votes. Of the nearly 3,000 delegates to the congress, 2,958 voted in favor.

The decision to scrap a two-term limit to the president’s term in office was divulged to the public only in late February 2018. The move was well-prepared and the Communist Party and Military Industrial Oligarchy were working effectively on a narrative to make the de-facto decision to turn the country into a corporatist oligarchy, otherwise also described as fascism, palatable to “the masses” in China and to China’s international partners, most of whom were too intimidated by Beijing’s not always so soft economic soft power to complain and to be all too principled.

A party, state and military dominated press in the People’s Republic fulfilled its function as bullhorns for the oligarchs wonderfully, and by March even many critics had been convinced or sufficiently intimidated to perceive the prospect of having another Mao-like dictator as something wonderful or inevitable.

Communist Party leaders argue changes to Article 79 of the Constitution were necessary because other key positions Xi holds as party chairman and head of its Central Military Commission have no term limits. In other words, the elite is using the type of easily debunked circular argument that is constructed so sloppy, that only oligarchs who are so convinced of their invulnerability and their removal from “the masses”,  would ever be sloppy enough to use them. It’s tyranny, right into the face of the people saying “it tastes like shit but we know that you are going to love it”.

The oligarchical takeover is being sold to the public by claiming the changes will ensure China maintains continuous strong leadership at a time when crucial reforms are on the horizon and the rising superpower is at a critical stage in its economic development. Speaking after the amendments were passed, NPC official Shen Chunyao said the decision to scrap presidential term limits has a broad consensus nationwide.

Shen, who heads the NPC Legislative Affairs Sub-Committee didn’t mince words when he said “The trinity of China’s leadership, the head of the party, military and country suits our national conditions and is realistic. … It is a successful arrangement that we [the party] have explored and developed over a long period of time.” Shen did not say why Xi needs to stay on beyond 10 years or even how many terms in office he might serve. Indefinitely means indefinitely, without limits, even in China, and in China asking for explanations can be something “the masses” should appropriately avoid.

Xi Jinping’s predecessors, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin also held all three positions, but each stepped down as president and then transitioned to new leadership largely after two terms. It’s a regression to the times of mass murderer Mao Zedong. Mao’s rule of terror lasted from the founding of communist China in 1949 until his death in September 1976. His violent Cultural Revolution cost the lives of millions of Chinese.

Beijing’s way of addressing minority problems in Xingjian province and other hotspots increasingly reminds about Mao’s cultural revolution, arguably driving dissidents into the hands of foreign “services” and other State and non-state actors. Blowback is almost certainly an a product of such policies and who knows, maybe it is convenient for the “leaders” in Beijing to be able to claim that “the masses” are being targeted by foreign agents. In a country where “publicly criticizing the Communist Party” is a criminal offense, everything is possible.

The party also amended the constitution to describe the party’s leadership as  “the most fundamental characteristic” of Chinese socialism. In other words, the Communist Party is the only party fit to rule China, and with Xi’s political thought and goals written into the document as well, he is now unquestionably the country’s paramount leader, no matter whether the people in the People’s Republic like it or not.

CH/L – nsnbc 14.03.2018

About the Author

- Dr. Christof Lehmann is the founder and editor of nsnbc. He is a psychologist and former independent political consultant on conflict, conflict resolution and a wide range of other political issues. In March 2013 he established nsnbc as a daily, independent, international on-line newspaper. He can be contacted at nsnbc international at

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