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Military Trends, Technology, and International Developments => China => Topic started by: adroth on March 04, 2018, 05:09:20 PM

Title: China reversing Deng Xiao Peng's presidential term limits
Post by: adroth on March 04, 2018, 05:09:20 PM
China defends planned scrapping of presidential term limits

A Chinese official on Sunday defended Beijing's plan to scrap term limits on the presidency and enable Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely as a way to ensure that three of Xi's main leadership positions are unified.

The constitutional amendment effecting the change is aimed only at bringing the office of the president in line with rules on Xi's other positions atop the ruling Communist Party and the military commission that controls the armed forces, Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the National People's Congress, told reporters at a news conference.

The move is "conducive to uphold the authority of the (Communist Party) Central Committee with Xi Jinping at the core, and also the unified leadership," Zhang said. "It will also be conducive to the state leadership system."

This year's gathering of the ceremonial legislature has been overshadowed by the ruling Communist Party's surprise move to announce a plan to end two-term limits on the presidency.

That means Xi, already China's most powerful leader in decades, could extend his rule over China for life.

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Title: Re: China defends planned scrapping of presidential term limits
Post by: adroth on March 04, 2018, 05:15:48 PM
What Xi Jinping As President With No Term Limits Means For China's Economy
I write about the Chinese economy and financial sector.

Term limits on China’s presidency may be removed as part of several constitutional amendments to be considered at the annual congressional meeting that starts March 5. While somewhat controversial, the abolition of term limits is expected to be approved. This will have negative implications for China’s economy, which has experienced a slowdown in growth in recent years, even in the best case scenario.

Xi’s track record on the economy

Xi Jinping clearly isn’t a market reformer, as we have seen from his time in office since 2013. Under his tenure, China has focused on supply-side reform to reduce overcapacity and improve the financing of state owned enterprises. Financial stability has been another priority, coming at the expense of market-oriented reform.

Supply-side reform encompasses overcapacity reduction in state-controlled sectors like coal and steel. Excess capacity and overproduction resulted in an inventory glut of particular commodities in recent years, and reducing the number of factories producing these goods has helped to bring down the excess inventory, even though additional planned factories have come online in the meantime.  Financial stability has emphasized controlling risks in the financial system that have been associated with overleveraging as well as innovations in the shadow banking sector. State owned enterprises, in particular, face high leverage, and much of the funding has come from the shadow banking sector when bank finance was insufficient.

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These reform policies have reacted to problems in the economy, but have not pushed market-based changes forward. Reducing barriers to efficiency in potentially profitable areas in the services industry would increase China’s growth prospects. Allowing for market forces to function more freely in the financial sector would also improve GDP, dampen risks, and reduce the necessary role of the state in this area.

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China does not have a good track record under political strongmen. The last leader to rule for a long period without term limits was Mao Zedong. Due to his vast power, Mao was able to carry out the Great Leap Forward, in which grain was transferred from the countryside to cities, resulting in massive famine in rural areas, as well as the Cultural Revolution, in which officials and citizens were heavily persecuted. These events were disastrous for human rights as well as for the economy, leaving China mired in poverty for many years.

So it seems, at best, that Xi Jinping will carry out more of the same state- and stability-focused economic reforms while refraining from undertaking more serious market-oriented reforms. At worst, an even more powerful Xi may resort to heavy-handed tactics to deter any opposition, with seriously negative economic implications. The prospects are not encouraging, although I’d like to be wrong.
Title: Re: China defends planned scrapping of presidential term limits
Post by: adroth on March 04, 2018, 05:21:04 PM
Xi Jinping decides to abolish presidential term limits
Mar 1st 2018 | BEIJING

BLOGGERS in China surpassed themselves in their ingenuity after the Communist Party announced its plan to get rid of presidential term limits, which would have required Xi Jinping to step down as head of state in 2023. One online commentator posted a picture of Winnie-the-Pooh hugging a jar of honey, with the caption “Find the thing you love and stick with it.” The Bear of Very Little Brain is used in China as code for the portly Mr Xi—the post was swiftly deleted by humourless censors. Others posted mock condom advertisements with tag lines such as “Doing it twice is not enough” and “I like how you’re always on top.” (The manufacturer solemnly informed readers that these were fakes.) Other banned terms included “I disagree”, “Animal Farm” (the novel), “emigrate”, “board the plane” (dengji, which also sounds like “ascend the throne”) and “Yuan Shikai”, an early 20th-century warlord who declared himself emperor and died six months later.

Censorship makes judging public reaction in China hard. But there was more inventive mockery in response to the startling announcement on February 25th than there was during the country’s biggest political event of the past few years, a party congress last October. There was also some unusual open dissent. A prominent former editor, Li Datong, and a well-known businesswoman, Wang Ying, both appealed to the legislature through WeChat, a social-media platform, demanding that it reject what Ms Wang called an “outright betrayal”. Many Chinese, it seems, regard scrapping term limits as a return to the bad old days of strongman rule.

Such limits may not matter much in themselves (they will be formally abolished at an annual session of the rubber-stamp parliament, which starts on March 5th). The presidency is a weak office. Mr Xi could stay in power as the party’s general secretary and military chief, to which term limits do not apply. But the abolition is still important partly because it is the clearest evidence that Mr Xi does, in fact, plan to ignore convention that party chiefs step down after ten years, and keep all of his jobs after 2023. It also pierces the veil of politics and shows what kind of ruler he wants to be. At a time when he is trying to boost China’s image globally as a modern, outward-looking and responsible state, the political system he governs seems premodern, opaque and treacherous.

The system itself is extremely unusual. China has two ladders of authority: the government and the party. The party hierarchy outranks the state one. In other countries, the ministers of finance and foreign affairs (government jobs) are usually the most important ones after the president or prime minister. In China, they are not even in the top 25. Neither man is a member of the Politburo, let alone its inner sanctum, the Politburo Standing Committee. Formally, the People’s Liberation Army is controlled by the party, not the government. In one respect, though, Chinese politics is all too normal. As with other Leninist systems, it is bedevilled by the problem of leadership succession. Of the 11 party leaders since 1921 (seven since the party seized power in 1949), only one—Mr Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao—has stepped down from all his posts in accordance with a timetable. Seven were executed or purged.

In the 1980s, reacting to the chaos of the Mao era, Deng Xiaoping tried to make the system more orderly and predictable by introducing new rules, norms and precedents. These included the reinstitution of the post of president (there had not been one since 1968), along with a two-term limit for the holder of that office as well as the vice-president. Mandatory retirement ages were also introduced. After Mao’s one-man freak show, Deng argued that China needed “collective leadership”. In a speech in 1980 he said the system should avoid an “over-concentration of power”, which, he warned, was “liable to give rise to arbitrary rule”. He said it should make a clearer separation between the party and the government. And it had to “solve the problem of succession in leadership”. Before he resigned in 1989 as head of the party’s Central Military Commission, Deng said his final task was to “take the lead in establishing a retirement system”.

As the abolition of term limits shows, he failed—or at least, his reforms failed to rein in Mr Xi. Instead of avoiding an over-concentration of powers, the president has made himself chairman of everything. Instead of separating party from state, he has injected party control into areas which had once been relatively free of it, such as private companies (see article). Now he has cast aside Deng’s efforts to introduce a system of succession by timetable.

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Title: Re: China reversing Deng Xiao Peng's presidential term limits
Post by: adroth on June 11, 2018, 04:45:01 PM
Xi Jinping’s abolition of the two-term limit is based on weakness, analysts say
PRESIDENT Xi Jinping now has a level of power we haven’t seen for decades. But if you think it’s just one big show of strength, you’re wrong. He’s scared.

Gavin Fernando@GavinDFernando 28, 201811:00AM

Xi Jinping has granted himself a level of power not seen in decades. But experts say it’s because he’s afraid. China's Xi positioned to rule indefinitely.

PRESIDENT Xi Jinping has solidified himself as China’s all-ruling leader, but while alarm bells are ringing around the world, experts say it could actually be a sign of weakness.

The Communist Party of China has announced the removal of its constitutional requirement that the president and vice-president “serve no more than two consecutive terms” of five years.

This means Mr Xi — who took up the role of General Secretary to the party in 2012 — can continue ruling into 2023 and beyond.

The leader has effectively granted himself a level of power not seen in decades.

But analysts say this grand measure of reform isn’t solely an assertion of power and strength, but also one of insecurity.


Speaking with, Richard McGregor, senior fellow at the Lowy Institute and author of The Party: The Secret World Of China’s Communist Rulers, said Mr Xi’s decision to remove formal impediments to him staying in power may be a tactical move to save his own skin.

He said that in the short-term, it’s certainly a position of strength, but there are broader implications of fear and insecurity.

“Here’s one way of looking at it. He’s just had this ongoing anti-corruption campaign, which has destroyed the lives and livelihoods of many people and families,” he said.

“In an authoritarian system like China, that comes back to bite you. That’s partly what this is about. He has to protect himself — not just from a backlash while he’s in office, but when he’s out of office.”

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Title: Re: China reversing Deng Xiao Peng's presidential term limits
Post by: adroth on June 12, 2018, 09:59:02 AM
The significance and implications of the Chinese leader’s new status are underappreciated, as he is set to influence his nation’s course for the next 20 years. The upcoming 19th congress should offer more clues on reform and opening up


25 MAR 2017

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The mainland’s massive propaganda machine has been in overdrive to bolster Xi’s credentials and praise his leadership skills and bold vision, particularly after a Communist Party Central Committee meeting conferred him the title as “core” leader in October last year, elevating him to the same ranks as Mao and Deng Xiaoping (鄧小平).

For many observers at home and abroad, the headlong rush to confer accolades on Xi has sent conflicting messages about his power and the country’s political future. On one hand, elevating Xi to “core” status points to his ironclad grasp on power as undisputed leader, the culmination of just four years in which he has accumulated sweeping power over institutions from the party to the government to the military. On the other hand, many observers appear to have concluded that given his remarkable success in consolidating power, the fact that Xi continues to push for greater status may reflect a deep sense of insecurity. His dominance of the decision-making process makes him vulnerable to potential political challenges over a slowing economy and other social instability.

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Many believe that Xi is marching towards dictatorial rule at home and is trying to push for a new global system abroad to displace the current one led by the United States, as evidenced by the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the launch of the “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

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The “core” concept is relative new. Deng Xiaoping first used it to anoint Jiang Zemin (江澤民) to shore up his authority and legitimacy following the bloody crackdown in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Deng said Mao was the “core” of the first generation and he himself was the “core” of the second generation.

But unlike Jiang, Xi seems to have attained the status after securing strong support from his contemporaries, retired leaders and the party rank-and-file because of his tough style, bold vision and willingness to take necessary risks to get difficult things done. This was exemplified by his unprecedented anticorruption campaign which netted hundreds of senior officials, and his determination to clean up corruption and low morale in the military.

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