Traditionally, the communist party has overturned and renewed its leadership every ten years. The current leader, Xi Jinping, has decided however that he has no intention of stepping down:
In a move likely to pave the way for Chinese leader Xi Jinping to stay at the country’s helm beyond his second five-year term, the ruling Communist Party’s Central Committee has proposed to remove term limits for the president and vice president.
In a short release, the state-run Xinhua News Agency said that the Central Committee had proposed to remove from the country’s constitution the expression that the president and vice president “shall serve no more than two consecutive terms.”
It said the proposal was made public Sunday, a day ahead of a scheduled meeting of the Central Committee. It was unclear why the announcement was made ahead of that meeting.
Xi, 64, was approved to begin his second five-year term late last year and is slated to step down in 2022. But many analysts believe he wants to stay in office longer.
He has been able to do this because he’s been aggressive purging all of his political opposition in the last few years under the guise of an “anti-corruption” campaign. This Financial Times article notes that eighteen Central Committee members have been removed under the auspices of this campaign, many of them ending up in prison.
Why do we care about this? Xi Jinping is the author of China’s aggressive nationalist policies, and he has been behind the aggressive push into the South China Sea and the Senkaku Islands, moves which could suck the US into a regional conflict given the wide number of nations currently engaged in various disputes with China.
I’d hope that his eventual stepping down would have led to him being replaced with someone more moderate, but it doesn’t appear that’s going to happen.