Emperor Xi Ascends to the Throne in China

XI2013, cc Flickr Apec 2013, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/, modified


The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has put forward a constitutional amendment that would remove the two-term limit for the presidency and vice presidency, effectively clearing the way for President Xi Jinping to remain in office for an indefinite period.

Though hardly surprising given the policy arc of the Xi era, the importance of the announcement cannot be overstated. It marks a turning point in China’s political development, a decisive pivot away from the façade of liberalism and a step toward one-man rule. The shift will reverberate in the domestic sphere, as President Xi’s centralization of Party control is now set to continue and even intensify. There will also be ramifications for China’s foreign policy, as centralizing the decision-making process into one individual dramatically increases the odds of miscalculation. Finally, the move sounds the death knell for wishful thinking in the West that China will inevitably liberalize from within, and this realization will lead to a new bout of soul-searching on how best to respond to China’s rise as a global power.


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