China set to give Xi lifelong rule on Sunday
China is set to scrap the two-term limit for the presidency and vice-presidency on Sunday, giving Xi Jinping the licence to rule the country for life. With China's largely ceremonial parliament stamping the proposal by the Communist Party, the Middle Kingdom could well be headed for a one-man rule. Fearing the repeat of excesses of power if anyone again was allowed to rule China indefinitely like Mao Zedong, country's revered leader Deng Xiaoping slashed the term limit for President and vice-president to two -- 10 years.
It is the same restriction, which nearly 3,000 lawmakers -- called deputies of the National People's Congress -- will lift when they vote on Sunday to amend the country's Constitution in a highly choreographed fashion.
Never has China's parliament said no to a diktat by the Communist Party, the country's real boss. The Party is above all.
But it would be interesting to see how many vote against the proposed amendment.
Xi, who came to power in 2013, has emerged as the most powerful leader in China after Mao. He is the General Secretary of the Communist Party and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission -- the top nodal body of the Chinese army.
Although the post of General Secretary is more powerful than that of the President in China, the latter is used to deal with the outside world.
Mao set up the President's office in 1954 and quit the post after five years, giving it to Liu Shaoqi, handpicked by him. Liu was a puppet President and fell out of favour during Mao's Cultural Revolution.
Mao did away with the President's post in 1975 only to for it be revived by Deng in 1982 with a two-term cap after his death.
With the term-limit gone, Xi, who already has a larger than life image in China, can rule the country of 1.4 billion until he retires, dies or is toppled.
There seems no one who could challenge the towering Xi as the potential successors are behind bars apparently on graft charges.
There is no room for dissent in Xi's era, with a heavy censor on the media and civil society.
Xi had made his intention to stay in power beyond 2023 sort of known when he did not name his successor at the party's key once-in-five-years meet last October.
His predecessors, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, had conventionally announced their successors.
Xi's move was widely speculated as his desire to cling on to power beyond 10 years, but little was anticipated of the proposal in this regard that came like a bolt from the blue in February 2018.
This has even startled the global community.