Monday, March 12, 2018

China: all Xi all the time

When it was announced that Xi Jinping had abolished term limits in China, potentially allowing him to lead the country for life, thete was a global sharp intake of breath.
It's not that Xi is necessarily the worst leader China has had, nor that he is necessarily a rogue pariah intent on subjugating the world (although he has established a stronger hold over the country than any leader since Deng Xaoping in the 1980s, who, paradoxically, was the man who introduced term limits into the Chinese political system).
It's mainly that abolishing term limits never bodes well, and usually indicates a strong move towards strong-man dictator tendencies. Look at others who have done the same or similar recently: Vladimir Putin in Russia (technically, just the allowance of a third term, but few people expect him to stand down at the end of it); Hugo Chavez in Venezuela; Evo Morales in Honduras; Rafael Correa in EcuadorRobert Mugabe in Zimbabwe; Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus; etc. It rarely ends well, and it usually results in a clamp-down on dissent, something that is already starting to happen in China.
Anyone who feels the need for more than 8 or 10 years in power, is clearly on a megalomaniac power trip, with no intentions of alllowing political plurality or debate. There has been little political debate in China for some years, but at least under Xi's predecessor Hu Jintao one felt there was some input from a committee. Now, China is going to be all Xi all the time.

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