BY: ANDREA GARCIA RODRIGUEZ
On February 25, 2018, the Chinese Government announced that it would be introducing an amendment to its Constitution under which, the resulting text would remove term limits in the office of its President and Vice President. Previously, the term limits were set to two terms, of five years each, but the resultant amendment would eliminate the line “shall serve no more than two consecutive terms.”
But even though it has shocked the world, which is turning towards authoritarianism, —Turkey, the Central African Republic, Russia, Venezuela, and Hungary are only a few examples — what has happened in China was predictable. Last October, Beijing hosted the 19th China’s Communist Party Congress where Xi Jinping was supposed to introduce his successor —as it has been traditionally done by his predecessors in the equator of their maximum time in office, id est, 10 years. However, no possible heir was designated, and no significant changes were made, not even to the composition of the Party’s inner circle, the Politburo, which does not count among its members anyone capable of succeeding Xi.
The charisma and leadership of the President has been the head of one of the harshest anti-corruption campaigns of this century, believed to be a way to get rid of emerging opposition. At the 19th Party Congress, his thought, “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, was echoed and included in the Constitution while being in office; something that only great figures of Chinese politics like Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping have achieved.
In this “New Era”, China has been more involved than ever in global affairs. Under the unlimited rule of Xi and guided by his doctrine, the People’s Republic of China has finally abandoned its state of mind as the “Middle Kingdom”, where virtue and wúwéi (non-action), characteristics of Chinese traditional philosophy, are applied to national politics.
By helping Xi achieve unlimited time in power, China has reaffirmed its future political pathway. As a result, its “peaceful development” into the international arena is entering its more aggressive stage and the strong leadership of the Chinese President has been given exactly what it needed: an endless period of time to achieve the Chinese Dream.
Andrea G. Rodriguez is an international security analyst. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from the Complutense University of Madrid. She has been part of several mobility programs, including at Charles University in Prague, where she studied Geopolitics and International Security, and at the National Taiwan University, where she focused on Asian security issues.
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