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 favor 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 has fueled 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.”