And we are back from the New Year’s holiday. Today’s issue is a short note on the Communist Party of China Central Committee’s proposed changes to the State Constitution that were approved at the 2nd Plenum in January bit only released a couple of hours ago. Normal publishing will resume Monday. If you are reading this note but do not subscribe to the 4X weekly Sinocism China Newsletter please consider doing so here.
Xinhua has published some of the State Constitution changes that should be ratified at the National People’s Congress (NPC) that opens March 5. There are several interesting changes, including the standing up of the new National Supervisory Commission system and the addition of the adjectives of "great", "modern" and "beautiful" to describe "a socialist country", but the biggest change looks to be the scrapping of the two-term limit for President and Vice President.
This revision is another move in the growing list of norm-busting changes Xi has pushed to allow him to stay in power for life. The most important substantive move towards this end was the inclusion of Xi Thought in the Party Constitution last Fall. As I wrote in the October 24, 2017 newsletter:
The enshrinement signals that it is Xi’s Party and makes the question of succession while Xi is alive a moot issue. So long as Xi has not yet met Marx he is the man with an eponymous theory in the Party Constitution, which means no other official will have more authority than he does, regardless of whether Xi is Party Chairman, General Secretary, Central Military Commission Chairman or head of the China Go Association.
Now the NPC will provide the institutional framework of the State to allow Xi, so long as he is alive and the Communist Party is running China, to be the most important and powerful person in China for life.
In this new Xi Era the world must learn to deal the most powerful Chinese leader in decades, while China itself is now the strongest it has been in centuries, with plans to become even more economically, militarily and culturally powerful, on the road to its Great Rejuvenation.
The Chinese text of some of the proposed changes is in 中国共产党中央委员会关于修改宪法部分内容的建议, and here is the language about ending the two term limit for President and Vice President:
Xinhua helpfully published an English translation of this as a single item in CPC proposes change on Chinese president's term in Constitution:
The Communist Party of China Central Committee proposed to remove the expression that the President and Vice-President of the People's Republic of China "shall serve no more than two consecutive terms" from the country's Constitution.
How much more of the Deng Era will be undone in the Xi Era?