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China's Communist Party mulls end to two-term limit for president

25 February 2018

The committee proposed removing the clause "shall serve no more than two consecutive terms" from the constitution, Xinhua reported.

Xi's two predecessors, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, both served two five-year terms, but he has signalled that he has bigger ambitions.

The plans to extend Mr Xi's rule have echoes of Mao
The plans to extend Mr Xi’s time in power have echoes of Mao Zedong’s rule

Meaning, President Xi Jinping could stay in the office indefinitely because, for now, he has nearly completed his two terms, and will soon be asked to step down from the presidential seat. If Xi were to stay on as China's leader beyond 2022, he would have to defy that tradition.

At the 19th five-yearly party congress last October, the party unveiled a new seven-member Standing Committee - its top ruling body, that lacked any clear heir apparent to Xi.

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The Central Committee also proposed inserting "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era" into the constitution, Xinhua said in a separate report, referring to Xi's guiding political thought that is already in the arguably more important Communist Party constitution.

However, some doubted whether this would require a constitutional change, saying Xi could simply retain power through his role as General Secretary of the CCP, which does not have term limits, rather than the ceremonial presidency. Some see the campaign also as a means for him to eradicate internal opposition.

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Yang Jing will be kept under observation for one year, Xinhua said, citing the Communist Party's graft buster, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).

China's President Xi Jinping drinks wine as he makes a toast during a banquet in Hong Kong on June 30, 2017.

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There is no limit on his tenure as the party and military chief, though a maximum 10-year term is the norm.

China's Communist Party mulls end to two-term limit for president