China Makes Historic Move to Allow Xi to Rule Indefinitely

BEIJING (AP) -
Chinese President Xi Jinping applauds after the parliament passed a constitutional amendment lifting presidential term limit, at the third plenary session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Sunday. (Reuters/Jason Lee)

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’s 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.