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President for life? Xi Jinping's power grab is not good news

03 March 2018

A rising China continues to attract the attention of an unprecedentedly interconnected and interdependent world.

Liu, a Harvard-trained economist and trusted confidant of Chinese President Xi Jinping, has emerged as the front-runner to be the next governor of China's central bank, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. Married to a literal rock star, a famous People's Liberation Army singer, he is a much more cautious scholar of Confucian political theory, which promotes stability, and fears the political disorder allowed under democracy. But given Xi has now sidestepped both party and state convention to further entrench his power base, his new prerogatives quite probably override conventions over who can be appointed to what and when.

Following the quietly proposed change to the country's constitution Sunday, internet censors in China also blocked potentially anti-Xi search terms such as "Disagree", "Shameless", "Incapable ruler" and the titles of George Orwell's "1984" and "Animal Farm". While Chinese politics is not remotely democratic in the traditional sense, there are certain checks and balances within the Party system itself, with reformers and conservatives seeing their power and influence waxing and waning over time.

At China's 19th Party Congress last October, Xi refused to field any "sixth-generation" successors as part of the newly formed Politburo Standing Committee.

The effects of Xi's longer term in office will be felt across the world. Xi's speech in Davos previous year defending globalization and China's growing role in climate change conferences should be seen in this light. What, then, is happening, and what should we look out for? China is increasingly aiming to be seen as the top-most global leader.

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"The response from Chinese netizens indicates that Xi may have miscalculated how this would be received by the general public". He has used his ever-increasing authority to squash dissent, influence governments overseas, and even artificially expand the country's territory. This has set off speculation that he will be made vice president to oversee China's relations with the USA and Beijing's anti-corruption efforts.

Indian military planners must already be watching Xi's landmark reforms unfold. Traditionally, the vice-presidency is largely ceremonial and devoid of real power or in a suppliant position for the president-elect to observe and be observed.

Meme began to rotate in Chinese and Western social networks, when XI became President in 2013. Earlier, Pakistan was the only country in South Asia that used to have very good relations with China.

The removal of the term limit also raises critical questions over the future power succession in China, perhaps the trickiest issue for Communist states and authoritarian states.

Official statistics show that China is responsible for the purchase of 62 percent of all U.S. soy beans, 14 percent of cotton, 25 percent of all Boeing aeroplanes and 17 percent of automobiles, as well as 15 percent of integrated circuits - all of which makes China the biggest export market for the USA outside North America.

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Xi's new anti-corruption push and the creation of the National Supervision Commission- the super ministry that will likely be established in March, could also expand state surveillance and arbitrary against Chinese citizens, critics and legal scholars allege.

It was under Xi that Beijing chose to build militarised bases in the South China Sea. Panchamrit principles, as outlined by the Modi government in 2015 for guiding India's foreign policy, must be pursued with greater vigour now. Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale's recent Beijing visit is undoubtedly aimed at building bridges with China.

The Global Times does not address these concerns. That means modern worldwide corporations need China.

The White House has avoided criticism of the move, saying the decision was "up to China".

The core of the CPC is "Comrade Xi Jinping". Xi is not going anywhere.

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President for life? Xi Jinping's power grab is not good news