'Ensuring happier lives': Chinese media defends move to make Xi Jinping all powerful


world
 'Ensuring happier lives': Chinese media defends move to make Xi Jinping all powerful

People walk past a poster of Chinese President Xi Jinping beside a street in Beijing. The Communist party has paved the way for him to assume the presidency indefinitely.

The Communist partys decision to abolish presidential term limits – a move experts and critics have condemned as a lurch towards unchecked dictatorship in China – is designed to “ensure people live happier lives”, a pro-Beijing newspaper has claimed.

The China Daily, an English-language broadsheet that serves as an international mouthpiece for Beijings views, said the move, announced on Sunday ahead of an annual political summit in Beijing, was “necessitated by the need to perfect the party and the state leadership system”.

“The strong leadership of the [Communist party of China] has proved to be a decisive factor for what this country has achieved both economically and politically over the past four decades,” it argued in an editorial.

As well as unveiling plans to scrap the two-term presidential limit, Beijing also announced a series of other amendments designed to bolster the rule of Chinas leader, Xi Jinping, which began in 2012 and now looks likely to continue well into the 2030s.

“[Past] amendments have injected new ideas and concepts about where the country will go and how it will achieve its goal of rejuvenation and ensure people live happier lives. The amendments this time are no exception,” the China Daily said.

The newspapers claims came as the United States declined to criticise Beijings shock announcement, which has appalled dissidents and many China experts but been largely ignored by western governments.

“I believe thats a decision for China to make about whats best for their country,” the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, told reporters. Sanders said presidential term limits were something Donald Trump “supports here in the United States”. “But thats a decision that would be up to China.”

That statement will go down well with the leaders of one-party China who have tried to portray their move as the result of overwhelming popular support for Xi.

“I hope everyone can acknowledge the voice of all the Chinese people,” foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told reporters at a press briefing on Monday in comments that were subsequently purged from the meetings official record.

But the United States response will disappoint Chinese liberals who had hoped, in vain, for international push back against Xis power grab.

In a public letter that circulated on Monday, Li Datong, a politically outspoken former journalist, claimed the move would be “mocked by civilised countries … It is a setback. It is like a seed that can lead China to chaos,” he warned.

In a second petition, Wang Ying, a reform-minded businesswoman, described the scrapping of term limits as a betrayal. “I know the proposal will be unanimously passed. I know theres nothing normal people can do. But I have to speak out,” she wrote.

Orville Schell, the head of the Asia Societys Center on US-China Relations, said Beijing would give such views short shrift. “The Chinese intellectuals are irrelevant. In Xis world of the major food groups, they dont count. Nor does the media, except as a vector for the partys message.

“He has completely transformed every sort of watchdog institution and social grouping by either neutering them or by buying them off.”

By: The Guardian

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