Sunday, 16 December, 2018

President Xi's Extension of Power, Bad News for Persecuted Christians in China

President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with steel and aluminum executives in the Cabinet Room of the White House Thursday President Xi's Extension of Power, Bad News for Persecuted Christians in China
Melinda Barton | 04 March, 2018, 02:42

The British pretend that Chinese President Xi Jinping's proposal to end term limits for the Chinese President is the reason for their current outburst of rage against China-but not everything they say is always true. In October, when he presided over the nineteenth Communist Party Congress, where his doctrines were enshrined in the constitution, I wrote that Xi's status licensed him to "play an nearly imperial role in shaping the fate of the nation". China's constitution now restricts the president and vice-president to 10 years of leadership, meaning that President Xi Jinping would have been out of power by 2023.

In a commentary Thursday, the state-run People's Daily defended the constitutional change as an "important move".

"Perhaps China finds large democracies like India threatening and in need of restraint, while semi-autocracies like Pakistan look more manageable", the editorial said while criticising Xi's move to discard institutionalised leadership in China. Mr. Xi's rule has meant a vicious and wide-ranging crackdown on civil society, which is particularly striking after the comparatively liberal reign of his predecessor, the bland functionary Hu Jintao. Therefore, a lifetime president of the Democratic Republic of China might, quite rightly, seem like a major contradiction. He wrote, "If we do not earnestly promote nationalism and weld together our four hundred million into a strong nation, we face a tragedy-the loss of our country and the destruction of our race".

The term limit removal is likely to be approved at this month's annual meeting of China's largely rubber stamp parliament, the National People's Congress, which starts its meetings on Saturday. But Sun also highlighted the greatest challenge to that plan. But we'll see how much longer that one's allowed to stay. This is a point that Xi may do well to heed. "People have confidence in and respect for his resoluteness". Even in an autocratic system, there are competing interests and ideas about the direction of rule, and Deng's collective leadership model kept the peace among them for decades, while China prospered under his policies.

Yet, with the surplus in China's favour proving an itch that US President Donald Trump can not stop scratching in his bid to achieve what he calls "fair and reciprocal" trade relationships - in real speak meaning they conform to his "America first" mantra for the voters - trade tensions between the world's two largest economies have been on the rise. "It was a very sudden and bold move that has raised many questions and concerns and there are some who can not understand", why the change is needed, said one man surnamed Ding, who works in the finance sector. According to a report from Peking University, the poorest twenty-five per cent of households own just one per cent of the country's total wealth, and the income gap is increasing. Local governments will also be given more autonomy, but only if they toe the CCP's line and strictly enforce all its orders.

Xi dominates the party, he dominates the military, and he has circumscribed the role of the State Council premier to a great extent.

The party made the announcement on Sunday, setting the stage for Xi to stay in office indefinitely should he wish, prompting accusations from some in the country that China is set to become another North Korea. Censors are erasing any mention of new banned words, like "Disney", "change the law", and "Brave New World".

Xi, no doubt, justifies his actions to himself by believing that he is the indispensable man for China's modernization, but the cemeteries are full of indispensable men.