Hank Berrien

On Sunday, the Chinese Communist Party announced it was proposing the removal of a clause in the constitution which limits presidencies to two five-year terms, meaning that President Xi Jinping, 64, could be president for the rest of his life. Before the latest move, Xi would have been held to a two-term limit; he was elected in 2013, and he could have served only until 2023. Xi already holds the positions of general secretary and military chief, neither of which have term limits.

Between 1993 and 2003, China was led by a collective group that was also term-limited.

As The New York Times commented regarding Xi’s desire to centralize power, “He has pressed China’s claims over the South China Sea, begun a global infrastructure plan called the Belt and Road initiative, drastically reorganized the military, bulked up domestic security and enforced ideological purity in schools and media.”

Zhang Ming, a retired historian at Renmin University in Beijing, stated, “Xi Jinping will certainly continue. In China, he can do what he wants to do, and this is just sending a clearer signal of that.”

After Deng Xiaoping succeeded the tyrant Mao Tse-Tung, he was followed by Jiang Zemin, who served as president from 1993 to 2003; his successor, Hu Jintao, stepped down after serving two terms, and there were expectations that Xi would only serve two terms.

One immediate aftereffect of the Chinese Communist Party’s decision has been a surge in censorship, according to the BBC, which reported that key terms have been censored on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter-like microblog, including: “I don’t agree,” “migration,” “emigration,” “re-election,” “election term,” “constitution amendment,” “constitution rules,” and “proclaiming oneself an emperor.”

Even “Winnie the Pooh” has been censored, as it’s a nickname that social media users have created for Xi.