China makes historic move to allow Xi to rule indefinitely

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Only 2 of 2,958 delegates to National People’s Congress oppose constitutional amendment

The Associated Press

Posted: Mar 11, 2018 5:24 AM ET
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2018 5:24 AM ET

China’s rubber-stamp lawmakers on Sunday passed a historic constitutional amendment abolishing presidential term limits that will enable President Xi Jinping to rule indefinitely.

The National People’s Congress’ nearly 3,000 hand-picked delegates endorsed the constitutional amendment Sunday, voting 2,958 in favour with two opposed, three abstaining and one vote invalidated.

The amendment upends a system enacted by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in 1982 to prevent a return to the bloody excesses of a lifelong dictatorship typified by Mao Zedong’s chaotic 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution.

The slide toward one-man rule under Xi, 64, has fuelled concern that Beijing is eroding efforts to guard against the excesses of autocratic leadership and make economic regulation more stable and predictable.

In a sign of the issue’s sensitivity, the government censors are aggressively scrubbing social media of expressions ranging from “I disagree” to “Xi Zedong.”

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